Signs of a Leaking Radiator

Car Care
Tips

Don't Let these Signs of a Leaking Radiator Go Unnnoticed

A leaking radiator can leave you stranded if your vehicle overheats. You can keep yourself and your passengers safe by knowing the signs of a leaking radiator. Take it a step further and keep up-to-date on your vehicle maintenance to avoid the major pitfalls that occur when automotive problems are ignored.

Radiator Leak Warning Signs:

Visible Leaking Fluid

Your vehicle's radiator is designed as a heat exchanger and uses a liquid-based coolant in the fluid to air cooling process. The simplest way to spot a leaking radiator is to keep an eye on your garage floor or driveway. Coolants come in a number of different colors, but leaking fluid will typically look sticky and be bright green, orange or pink in color. A sweet smell is also common with coolant.

Dropping Coolant Level, Rising Temperature Gauge

A quick drop in your vehicle's coolant fluid level can generally be a good indication that your radiator is leaking. As the coolant level in the radiator normally rises and falls with engine temperature, small changes or drops in the reservoir level are not unusual, however, a drastic drop is typically a sign of leakage.

Examine Parts and Hoses

Your radiator rusting and discoloring and the surrounding engine components is also a sign that your radiator may be leaking. Radiator hoses and clamps are also subject to normal wear and tear and should be washed and inspected to find possible cracks and leaks.

Fixing a Radiator Leak

If your radiator is leaking, there are a number of short-term fixes you can perform until you are able to replace the leaking part or get your vehicle into the shop.

After identifying the leak and allowing the radiator to cool, plug the leak with a leak repair product, but it is important to remember that this fix is only for the meantime. Always replace the leaking part or get your vehicle to a repair shop as soon as possible.

Lack of Preventative Maintenance

If you have not been following your owner's manual recommendations and getting regular coolant flushes, that may be the cause of your leak.

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