As a vehicle owner, you can expect a radiator leak at one point or another. This is a common occurrence in many vehicles. As a heat exchanger, the radiator plays a fundamental role in managing the engine temperatures. Leaks are bound to occur when the tubes carrying coolant in the radiator get damaged. Sometimes it may take a while before you detect the leak but at other times the leakage is more apparent. If a leaking radiator remains unattended, you’re likely to end up with an overheated engine. Eventually, the vehicle will break down. It is best to check your vehicle regularly to catch any signs of radiator trouble. Below are the signs of a leaking radiator.
1. Drop in Coolant Level
The coolant is the fluid that flows in the radiator to absorb excess heat energy from the engine. Coolant levels gradually drop with time as the vehicle operates. You should add more coolant once the level declines. When you top up the coolant as needed, it helps to avert possible damage to the car. However, a drastic drop in the coolant level is a likely indication of a leaking radiator. It indicates abnormal discharge of coolant which in most cases signals leakage.
2. Puddle Underneath the Engine
If your radiator is leaking, you’re likely to spot it once the vehicle is parked. Check under the engine for any fluid. A puddle of bright green, slimy looking fluid is a sure indication of a leaking radiator. This fluid is toxic and hazardous to your health. It is best to clean the puddle as soon as you can. Dispose of the fluid properly so as to prevent any contact with humans or animals.
3. Discoloration or Corrosion
Discharged coolant causes discoloration on the radiator. A leaking radiator may also result in corrosion. Examine the radiator, especially the underside for signs of discoloration. Also check adjacent engine parts. It is easier to spot a leak once the engine has been cleaned. Clean the radiator and hoses well with water. Once done, start the engine and carefully inspect it for any leakage. You may spot the leak in one of the hoses which can be fixed fairly easily. However, if the leak is in the radiator, repairing it will be more difficult.
4. Faulty Radiator Hoses
The hoses that connect to the radiator are bound to wear away with time. The connecting clamps also tend to loosen with time due to engine vibrations. Worn out radiator hoses or loose connections encourage leakage. It is a good idea to examine the radiator hoses and connections periodically. This will help you spot possible damage and leakages. Should you detect any split, crack, or bulges on the hose, repairs will be necessary.
5. Frequent Engine Overheating
The radiator works to keep the engine from being overheated. A leaking radiator will result in high engine temperatures since coolant is most probably being discharged. In most cases, recurring engine overheating indicates a leaking radiator.