If there’s one thing you should pay attention to with your vehicle, it’s the temperature gauge. It’s the one that may say C—H (that means “cold—hot”). Or maybe yours has a picture of a thermometer on it and a blue and red zone. If you see the needle heading farther to the “H” or red area, that means your vehicle’s engine is running hotter than it normally does.
One of the most common causes of an engine running hot is a leak in your cooling system. Maybe you’ve seen puddles of coolant under your vehicle, or you’ve smelled the coolant, either inside or outside your vehicle (it has a sort of “sweet” or fruity smell). That’s your engine giving you a warning signal that it’s time to head over to your repair facility to find out what’s going on.
Your vehicle’s coolant can leak for several reasons. You may have hoses that are deteriorating (heat and age take their toll). It’s possible the pump that circulates coolant has developed a problem (seals and bearings can fail from heat and wear). You may have something as simple as a bad radiator cap. Or your radiator or heater core may have holes in it.
If your coolant is leaking out, this can cause serious damage to your engine if you just let it go. Your engine could get so hot that some of the metal parts start to warp. Sometimes, your coolant can start mixing in with your engine oil. That can result in a very expensive repair if it gets to that stage, so have it checked out before that happens.
A technician will visually inspect your coolant system, including the reservoir tank, check hoses and fittings, test the water pump, and also may pressure test the radiator. When the problem or problems are found, they will replace the necessary parts and get you back on the road.
When it comes to a coolant leak, finding the cause can be tricky. But it’s important to catch a cooling system issue in time—before your engine sustains more serious damage. Now, that’s pretty cool.