Part 4 of 5 – Fluid Leaks
Part 4 – Coolant
Coolant leaks could potentially cost several thousand dollars of damage if not quickly identified. An overheated engine is almost a guarantee that expensive repairs are required.
Coolant leaks are green or pink in color depending on the coolant used. An over filled cooling system can spill coolant onto the floor causing concerns, however this may not be a concern at all. Not all radiators are filled to the top. Some are below the fill neck by as much as 2 inches. Some cars are equipped with an overflow bottle to catch this excess coolant. Others may have overflow tubes running to the ground.
It is important to wipe up any coolant quickly. Coolant will not dry on its own and it’s dangerously slippery if stepped in. It’s also dangerous for pets. Animals find it to have a very sweet taste, so always keep animals away from spills.
Small amounts of coolant is more of a concern than larger spots. However, any amount of coolant on the floor is a huge concern. The fact that there is coolant on the floor is telling us that a problem has, or is about to happen. This could be bad hoses, heater core, water pump, radiator, radiator cap, cylinder heads, or even the engine block and its components. An overheated engine can be costly to repair due to a lack of coolant.
One area that is important and often overlooked is the right floor board. Coolant can get trapped in the carpet from a leaking heater core and not noticed until the damage is done. Trapped coolant in the floor board and carpet does not seem to find its way to a noticeable area until it is too late and the damage is done. If the right floor board is damp, this is an indication that the heater core is leaking.
Using stop leak additives is not a very good idea to solve cooling problems. These additives restrict passages that are vital to your engine’s performance and usually creates more damage to internal components. Have any leak inspected and repaired quickly before costly overheating damage occurs. Caution should be taken when checking the coolant level on hot engines and is never advised. Scalding hot coolant can cause serious injuries, so be careful.