4 Signs You Have a Car Coolant Leak

If you’re a car owner, I’m sure you know how difficult it can be to keep your car in perfect working condition. Regular car maintenance, such as oil changes, tire rotations, and fluid checks, is critical to identifying and preventing problems before they cause damage to your vehicle.

One of the most common issues that arise with vehicles is coolant leakages. A coolant leakage occurs when the fluid that keeps the engine of the car cool leaks. If this occurs, it’s extremely worrisome because there will be no fluid left to keep the engine cool while your foot is on the pedal. It would only be a matter of time before your engine overheats and the vehicle stops abruptly, putting you in a very dangerous situation.

Car Coolant Leak

car coolant leak
Image credit: PxHere

Here are four major symptoms of a car coolant leak that can help you identify this problem.

1. A Constantly Overheating Engine

To absorb heat, a vehicle cooling system disperses coolant throughout the engine. The coolant is then directed to the radiator, where it dissipates the heat. If the cooling system leaks and the coolant level falls too low, the engine will be unable to remove heat and will begin to overheat. If you notice that your vehicle’s engine overheats frequently, even when only traveling short distances, this is a clear indication that your car engine is low on coolant. Allowing a vehicle to overheat even once can lead to costly engine problems, such as a blown head gasket or cracked cylinder head.

2. Low Coolant Level in Reservoir Tank

Every vehicle has a reservoir tank, also known as an expansion tank. This compartment holds extra coolant that can be used when the engine coolant level drops. In the case that there is no coolant left in the reservoir tank, that would mean that the car has used all the coolant in this compartment so you would need to get it refilled. If this occurs frequently and the reservoir tank empties after a few days, it is possible that coolant is leaking from the engine.

3. Bubbles in the Radiator

Typically, the pipes of the radiator and the coolant reservoir tanks are properly sealed, meaning there would be no bubbles inside of it. However, if there is a leak, the gases from the engine can enter the radiator and the expansion tank, causing bubbles. This is another clear symptom of a coolant leak. So, if you notice bubbles in your car’s radiator or coolant reservoir, you should get it checked out as soon as possible.

4. Discoloration of the radiator

When your car begins to run, the radiator increases in temperature. If the car coolant leaks and the liquid falls onto the radiator, it immediately begins to boil—which will cause some discoloration or leave a mark on the radiator. Therefore, there is a good chance that your car’s coolant is leaking from the engine if you notice any kind of rusting or discoloration on the radiator body.

These are four of the most common signs that indicate you have a coolant leak. However, it is important to remember that the symptoms of a coolant leak will vary depending on many different factors such as vehicle make, model and what type of leak you have. For example, a recent article notes that one of the top symptoms for a Chevy Cruze coolant leak is a sweet smell coming seeping into the cabin, which can be extremely dangerous due to the toxicity of these chemicals. Thus, it is critical to do everything possible to prevent car coolant leaks from occurring. Following a regular preventative maintenance schedule is a must to keep your car in good shape and to keep you safe on the road.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.