Your vehicle has many important fluids that keep it running right. If you notice any fluid leak under your car, truck or SUV, it is certainly cause for concern. This is especially true if you notice any radiator coolant leaking.
How to Identify Radiator Fluid
Radiator fluid (also known as coolant or antifreeze) is typically very easy to identify because it is bright greenish/yellow in color and any leaks will likely be noticed when you look under the hood or somewhere under the front of the vehicle. If you have a sports car or another vehicle with a rear-mounted engine and cooling system, then a radiator coolant leak would obviously be back there instead.
Common Sources of Coolant Leaks
Once a radiator fluid leak is identified, it's important to determine where the leak is coming from. Is it coming from the radiator itself or somewhere else in the cooling system? There are a few common culprits to look at:
The Radiator — Radiators, especially older ones, can spring leaks at any time. A lot of heat and pressure builds up within the radiator as the car is running and any weaknesses are easily exposed. It is usually the first thing a mechanic will look at when there is a coolant leak. There are some temporary fixes like cracking an egg into the radiator that might briefly plug the hole get you down the road for a short time, but ultimately a cracked or damaged radiator will need to be replaced as soon as possible.
The Water Pump — All vehicles with fluid-cooled systems will have a water pump that is vital in keeping the coolant circulating from the radiator through the engine and back again. When a water pump fails, it will often leak fluid and/or cause the car to overheat. You will want to get the pump repaired or replaced right away before it leads to more significant engine or cooling system problems.
The Fluid Lines — The vehicle's cooling system has various hoses and connection points that allow the coolant to circulate from one component to the other. Sometimes, the lines can spring a leak or one of the connections can become loose. Honestly, this is your best case scenario because it's easy to replace a line or fix a connection compared to having to replace the radiator or water pump.
What Does the Fluid Look Like?
Another thing to note about radiator fluid leak is if you notice that the fluid itself is dirty, discolored or unusually thick. It should be bright in color and translucent. If it smells burned or looks nasty, then it could be the sign of another internal cooling system problem that you will want to have inspected by a professional auto repair shop. You may just be due for a cooling system service to clean the lines and replace the old coolant that's in the radiator.
For all your fluid leak and cooling system repair needs in the Mid-Atlantic area, count on the automotive experts at Fox Run Auto to properly identify the problem and take care of the necessary repairs. Call us today at (302) 597-9205 or schedule your service appointment online.