What is a coolant leak inspection?

A mechanic will perform a coolant leak inspection to determine the cause of your coolant leak by checking the radiator tank, radiator hoses, radiator cap, and water pump.
Coolant is a liquid in your car that transfers heat and adds antifreeze protection. Depending on your vehicle, you could have a specialized coolant with additives, a specific coolant for your manufacturer, or a coolant specifically for high-mileage cars.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few reasons your coolant could be leaking.

How to perform a coolant leak inspection

Your mechanic will examine a few different parts of your car to determine the cause of the coolant leak. Here are some common issues that cause coolant leaks:
  • Perforated radiator tank or core
    : This requires a simple look at the radiator to see if there are signs of leakage coming from the radiator.
  • Bad radiator hoses
    : Hoses that connect the radiator to the engine can sometimes deteriorate, producing leaks as small as a needle-sized puncture to leaks as major as a burst wall. Hoses age and become brittle, so they’ll need to be replaced if they’re faulty.
  • Faulty water pump
    : Coolant can escape from the water pump housing. If the bearing fails, the pump seals fail, causing a leak. This typically happens when the pump is operating, so it has to be inspected while the engine is running. If this is the source of the leak, the water pump will need to be replaced.
  • Bad radiator cap
    : The radiator cap can lose the ability to maintain system pressure, causing the coolant to reach its boiling point at a lower temperature than it should. This can also allow steam to escape, causing moisture to accumulate in the system.

When do I need to get a coolant leak inspection?

If your temperature gauge is reading wrong or if you notice a thin, green liquid on the ground under your car, you probably have a coolant leak. A coolant leak could lead to a cooling system failure, which could cause damage to other mechanical parts or even major engine damage.
If you notice the signs of a coolant leak, it’s best to get your vehicle inspected as soon as possible. Catching problems early could also save you money in the long run.

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