What Is Coolant, And Why Is My Car Going Through So Much Of It?
What is coolant, and why is your car going through so much of it? To say that coolant is an essential fluid in your vehicle is an understatement. Without it, a number of your vehicle's components can overheat and destroy your engine. If you start to notice coolant on the ground where you have parked, or find yourself consistently needing to add additional coolant to the engine, there is a good chance you have a coolant leak.
The cooling system of today's vehicles is complex and travels throughout the engine. There are a great number of different places within the system that a leak can occur. This can make diagnosing the problem tricky. Below is additional information about the most common causes of a coolant leak and how these issues can be resolved.
The highly trained and experienced technicians at CARS of America can quickly locate and repair a coolant leak in your vehicle, in turn protecting your engine and keeping you on the road.
Causes of Coolant Leaks
Coolant consumption or leaks can be the result of many different issues. Generally, any area with a gasket, seal, plastic, or rubber runs the risk of degrading, cracking, and wearing out:
1) Cracked or broken coolant hoses
Rubber hoses connect various cooling system elements, and the rubber can deteriorate in the extreme temperatures and conditions of the engine bay.
2) Head gasket leak
Your vehicle's coolant comes in contact with the gasket separating the cylinder head from the bottom end of the engine. If this gasket starts leaking, coolant can escape the system and enter the cylinders' combustion chamber or leak out to the outside of the engine block. This can be a major concern. If at anytime you notice excessive white smoke coming out of your exhaust stop driving your vehicle and get it to one of our technicians immediately, as this is a sign that coolant may be entering the cylinders.
3) Punctured radiator:
The radiator is at its core, a heat exchanger that works to remove heat from coolant coming back from the engine. When the radiator is punctured, coolant will escape, leaking out on to the ground. A severe puncture will be very noticeable, while a smaller one will drip slower much like with a cracked or damaged coolant hose.
4) Worn water pump seals
Coolant can leak from your vehicle’s water pump if the seals inside begin to wear out. This can happen over time and is more common in vehicles 10 years or older.
5) Leaking heater core
The heater core uses the hot coolant to heat the cabin of your vehicle. A leaking heater core can have several noticeable symptoms depending on the severity.
Ways to Inspect Your Vehicle For Coolant Leaks
1) Check where you park
Look on the ground under where you parked your car. Wet spots or puddles of liquid can indicate an external coolant leak. Check the exhaust
If you don’t notice any drips or puddles under where you park, the coolant may be leaking internally. A clear indicator that the leak is the result of a failing head gasket is seeing white smoke in the tailpipe of your exhaust.
2) Visually inspect the engine.
Open the hood of your vehicle and take a look around. If a coolant leak is bad, you may notice green, blue, or orange liquid dripping or coating parts of the engine. If you feel comfortable we recommend that you examine the hoses. Pull the oil dipstick and look at the oil in your vehicle. Motor Oil contaminated with coolant from a head gasket leak will have a cloudy or milky appearance.
3) Check under the dashboard.
The heater core resides behind the dash on the passenger side of your car. If there is a coolant leak coming from the heater core, the floor beneath the dashboard may actually be wet. Also, check to see if you smell a sweet smell.
Let CARS of America help!
Contact our team of highly trained mechanics regardless of whether or not you locate the source of the coolant leak. If no coolant appears on the ground, a mechanic can do a pressure test to determine where the coolant is leaking internally. If the leak appears to be severe, do not drive your vehicle. If the engine overheats, it can be destroyed, and your repair bill will increase significantly.
The ASE Certified technicians at CARS of America are available to diagnose and repair your coolant leak. Give us a call or schedule an appointment today!