How to Spot a Coolant Leak When Car is Off

March 11, 2024

Coolant is a vital fluid that keeps your engine at an optimal temperature by flowing throughout the entire system while it’s running. This helps to prevent overheating that can cause serious damage to your engine and all its components.

Coolants have a sweet smell that can be detected by your nose, and the presence of puddles under your vehicle is usually a good indication that you’re experiencing a problem. If you notice a loss of coolant that seems to be happening quickly, you should check the temperature gauge and warning light to see if it’s rising, or you can turn your car on and allow it to warm up, then take a look at the coolant reservoir or radiator to see if there are any puddles or drops on the ground.

Often, coolant leaks occur around the radiator or expansion tank that’s situated beside the engine in your vehicle. The coolant flows through the radiator and then to the cooling system’s hoses that run throughout the engine. Those hoses may be worn, loose or even cracked, especially as they age. The coolant can also leak from the combustion chamber and mix with the oil, causing milky white exhaust smoke that can be a sign of a serious head gasket issue. This is something that will require professional assistance to diagnose and fix.

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