What are common causes for coolant leaks

Listed here are common causes for your coolant to be leaking:

1. Radiator cap leaks

If the radiator cap doesn’t no longer fits as it initially did or if it is weak and wore out it can cause loss of your systems coolant by way of the overflow tube, and it will happen every time you run the engine very long. The radiator was designed to be pressurized, so should the radiator cap fit incorrectly, improperly fitting, or maybe it is not the correct cap for your radiator, either way pressure will end up being lost and this let go very long could also create damage to a hose, causing even more repairs to be done. Having a pressure test performed on the radiator cap will help in diagnosing the problem.

Solution: Simply replace your radiator cap with one the fits correctly. You can find out in the vehicles manual what the proper cap is and what your pressure should be.

2. An internal leak

For starters, if it is an internal leak there will not be a pool of coolant under the vehicle, but rather, you will find yourself constantly having to put more water in the radiator as it quickly overheats and it either leaks out or evaporates. For internal coolant leaks you will need to look at the head (cylinder block), it could also be that you have a leaky head gasket, as this will let the coolant seep out.

Solution: Bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop for diagnosis unless you know how to disassemble your engine.

3. An external leak

The easiest to pin point what the problem is would be if it is an external leak. Usually, if you have a leak that is external, the vehicles coolant is going to escape rapidly allowing the vehicle to overheat quickly. You should be able to determine where the leak is just by observing. It may be a broken hose and/or a hole in the radiator.

Solution: Check your hoses to see if any coolant is coming out. Replace the hose(s) if you notice coolant coming out of them. If you notice coolant leaking out of your thermostat that can be an easy fix. It only costs about $10-$15 to replace a vehicles thermostat and is one of the easiest repairs you can do yourself. However, if the coolant is leaking from your water pump, that can get a little more expensive. Depending on your vehicle, you or an auto mechanic might need to buy a water pump replacement tool from the dealership to replace your water pump.

4. Blown Head Gasket

If you’re struggling to find the source of your coolant leak there’s a chance it is caused by a blown head gasket.  The head gasket seals the engine block and cylinder heads.  If a head gasket fails it may cause a serious coolant leak and overheating or may be a small leak that is hard to detect. Worse yet the coolant may try to mix with your engine oil.  If this happens you’ll likely lose all compression and make it so you cannot drive your car.

Solution:  The solution for a blown head gasket is to replace it immediately.  It will require some disassembly of your engine so the cost for labor will typically exceed the cost of the part.