What Should You Do When Your Car Radiator Is Leaking?

Like most parts of your vehicle, your radiator is prone to wear and tear over time. As the main function of a car’s radiator is to cool the engine by dealing with large amounts of heat output, it is important that the system is working as it should at all times.

A radiator leaking may be due to a coolant leak, or corrosion in the hoses or hose connections. If your radiator is damaged, the issue may also affect your engine, gaskets, thermostat, and many other parts of the engine cooling system. The good news is that it is possible to identify a leaking radiator before it causes an emergency or requires extensive, costly car repairs.   

Signs Your Car Radiator is Leaking

Recognising the signs you may have a leaking car radiator is crucial to ensuring you stay safe on the roads, and can prevent small issues from turning into costly repairs in the future. Here are some of the common signs that indicate your radiator is leaking.

Temperature Gauge Rising

If your engine starts to overheat, the temperature gauge on your dash will rise towards the red zone. This signals that you should stop driving and allow your vehicle to cool down. Some vehicles do not have a gauge, but instead have a red warning light that appears to indicate when the vehicle is already overheated.

Broken Heat Or No Heat

An early sign of car coolant leak is the lack of heat in your vehicle. Your car’s heater core is contained within the cooling system, which means that a drop in coolant levels can prevent coolant from reaching the heater core.

Steam or Smoke Coming from Engine Area

Perhaps the most obvious sign of your engine coolant leaking is steam coming from the hood of your car. This can occur when the cooling system is under extreme pressure, causing the radiator to leak and a gas that looks a bit like smoke to pour from your engine area.

Puddle of Fluid Beneath the Car

Another common sign of a radiator leak is a puddle of liquid underneath your vehicle. In the situation of a radiator coolant leak, the liquid is usually bright green, though this depends on which kind of antifreeze is used.

Low Coolant Levels

If you suspect your car has a leak but you cannot see any fluid beneath your vehicle, the next place to check is your radiator’s reservoir tank. You should find two lines on the reservoir, with one showing a hot level and the other showing a cold level. There is likely a leak within the cooling system if the levels are much lower than they should be.

Sweet Smell Coming from the Engine Area

Because antifreeze has a very distinct sweet smell, if you smell something sweet coming from your car, it could be a coolant leak. If you do detect this antifreeze smell, you should take your car to be checked immediately. 

What to do if Your Car Radiator is Leaking

Because the internal components of your car’s radiator are so complex, it is recommended that once you notice an issue, you immediately stop driving and shut off your car as soon as possible. An overheated engine should only be dealt with by a skilled mechanic. Similarly, if liquid coolant has leaked beneath your car, it is important to properly clean the fluid and keep pets and children away from it, as it is a hazardous material.

If you believe your radiator is leaking, the best thing you can do is contact a qualified mechanic to organise a service for your car. Experts at Hi-Mech Auto Solutions are equipped with the diagnostic knowledge and tools needed to repair your radiator and prevent further damage. Depending on what is causing the problem, your mechanic may use a product such as radiator sealant, or may have to conduct other internal repairs and inspections.

Trust the team at Hi-Mech Auto Solutions

At Hi-Mech Auto Solutions, our qualified mechanics are experts in their field and understand the complexities of your car’s many systems. As a member of the Bosch Car Service Network, we have exclusive access to the latest diagnostic tools and leading industry knowledge. We are able to perform a full suite of services on your car’s engine, including coolant flushes and radiator maintenance. If you’re unsure about what you need, our team can undertake a complete inspection and offer you full transparency regarding the condition of your radiator, as well as any necessary radiator replacement cost.

With a dedicated team and years of experience, Hi-Mech Auto Solutions can solve any leaking radiator issues your car may have. Give us a call on (07) 7517 0121 or contact us through our online booking form to arrange a service for your car today.