The coolant performs a very critical task. It ‘carries’ heat from the engine, and ‘dissipates’ it to the environment while flowing through the radiator. A whole bunch of other components play supporting roles in circulating the engine coolant through the right places, at the right time. If you notice coolant leaking from your car, stop immediately, and get professional help.
Continued driving when the leakage is big enough to drain a large amount of coolant can cause the engine to get overheated. When engines overheat due to a cooling system failure, it is possible for damage to be sustained by mechanical parts. For example, cylinder heads may warp, resulting in a loss of cylinder compression and allowing coolant and oil to mix. This can result in severe engine damage.
If you see abnormal temperature gauge readings or notice fluids on the ground under the engine compartment of your car, have the vehicle checked as soon as possible. You can save a lot of money by catching problems early that relate to the cooling system.
Possible Root Causes for why your engine coolant might be leaking:
- Leakage in the radiator tank or core: This is fairly easy to spot as there will be signs of leakage around the radiator.
- Leaking radiator hoses: The hoses connecting the radiator to the engine can also deteriorate over time and produce leaks. Hoses usually become brittle and weak as they get old, making them prone to failure. Hoses will need to be replaced if they are found defective.
- Faulty water pump: Coolant can also escape from the water-pump housing. If this is the source of the leak, the pump will need to be replaced.
- Faulty radiator cap: It is also possible for the radiator cap to lose its ability to maintain system pressure. This will allow the coolant to reach its boiling point at a lower temperature than intended, and possibly allow steam to escape, which introduces moisture to the system.