If you notice coolant on the ground beneath your vehicle, you have a coolant leak. Coolant leaks are caused by a leak in the radiator. Radiator fluid, known as coolant, flows through the engine and the radiator, so if it is dripping onto the ground, it is a sure sign that the radiator has a crack or opening somewhere. A professional auto repair shop can accurately locate radiator leaks with a specialized test using pressure and dyes.
If you begin to notice that your coolant is always running low, or your “low coolant” light comes on, it may be due to a radiator leak. Although it can be tempting to simply refill and forget about it, it is important to put your schedule aside and have your radiator inspected by a professional mechanic. A radiator leak can be dangerous for many reasons, so it is necessary to repair them if one exists.
Radiator fluid should be yellow, red, or green at all times. However, when the cooling system begins to go bad, the fluid can start to turn to rusty or oily colors, such as black or brown. Overtime, this oily fluid turns into sludge inside the radiator, which prevents the coolant from flowing properly. When this happens, it slows performance and reduces efficiency. Unfortunately, a radiator will need to be replaced if sludge gets inside.
Since the radiator’s job is to regulate the temperatures produced inside an engine, it is no surprise that an overheating engine is a very common sign of radiator failure. If the engine overheats just one time, it could be due to something minor like being low on coolant. But if your engine is overheating regularly, it could be a more serious repair. The more times you allow your engine to overheat, the more damage is done to your vehicle. It is important to get them repaired as soon as possible before they can get worse.