Leaking Radiator: Learn The Signs, Causes & Effects

1 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Responsible for cooling the engine, the radiator is a crucial mechanical part of your car. A leaking radiator can bring about an abrupt end to your journey. Worse, it can lead to the 3rd party damage of other vital components of your car, like the engine. You should therefore be able to spot when it has a leak and seek the necessary repairs as soon as possible.

Read on to learn more:

Common causes of a leaking radiator

There are a number of factors that can lead to the damage of your radiator. These include:

  • Accidental damage: The radiator can easily get damaged during a smash accident or even a minor fender-bender.
  • Wear and tear: The radiator will wear over time. Eventually, the radiator or its hoses may crack due to numerous contractions and expansions caused by the cooling cycles.
  • Poor quality, second-hand parts: If you're going to replace your radiator, opt for a new OEM part to avoid fitting your car with a faulty part.

How to notice a leaking radiator

If you can notice a radiator leak at the early stages, you can save yourself a lot of trouble on the road. Some of the signs of a leaking radiator are:

  • Leak marks on the ground under the car's hood.
  • Collapsed radiator hoses.
  • Loose hose fittings.
  • Abnormally low level of coolant in the coolant expansion tank.
  • Check engine light on the dash.
  • Engine hissing or steam coming from the hood.

Effects of a leaking radiator

The effects of a leaking radiator can be dire, especially if you are driving the car and have no clue about the damage. Common results include:

  • Engine overheating
  • Heat damage to adjacent parts such as hoses, battery, fluid containers, plastic covers, etc
  • Road-side stalling
  • Potential accidents due to engine failure

Solutions for a leaking radiator

If you notice any of the above signs of a leaking radiator, refrain from driving the car. Call a break down towing service and have it taken to a garage. Upon inspection, your mechanic will decide on the best remedy. This will depend on the extent of the damage. At the very least, you may only need to replace damaged hose. However, major radiator damage will call for a unit replacement. If the engine has overheated, it will need to undergo pressure tests and have the gaskets replaced. If severely damaged, the engine may need to be reconditioned or even replaced entirely.

For more information, contact a local auto shop like Timber City Motors