Any car can be compared to a real symphony orchestra. Agree that when all the instruments play their parts in the symphony correctly and cleanly, then our ear is just happy with quality music. But as soon as someone starts to fake it, the beauty of the piece of music falls apart right in front of our eyes.
The same applies to the car. To make driving a car as comfortable and safe as possible, it is very important that all systems of the car work correctly and smoothly. Therefore, it is very important that in addition to the engine and chassis, the cooling system of the car also works properly.
That’s why, if you saw that wet areas appeared from the engine or under the car, as well as the level of antifreeze began to fall, it’s time to diagnose your car and eliminate such an unfortunate problem as the leak of antifreeze. And how to do that, read in our material.
Why does the antifreeze go away
The vehicle’s cooling system prevents your engine from overheating by circulating coolant. When the refrigerant moves through the system, it absorbs the intense heat generated by the engine during fuel combustion. The coolant – a mixture of antifreeze and water – then passes through your radiator where it cools down.
Your coolant also performs other protective functions for your engine. For example, the alcohol content protects the engine from freezing at low temperatures. Special coolant additives prevent corrosion, rust and mineral deposits from forming along the path of your cooling system. Therefore, poor quality antifreeze can cause premature failure of the cooling system.
Antifreeze is a mixture of refrigerant and distilled water at a ratio of 1:1. Therefore, water is the main cause of antifreeze evaporation. Experts say that in the intervals between the replacement of antifreeze, you may lose about 100 g of liquid. The causes of antifreeze leaks can be quite large.
In fact, they are all related to the failure of one or more of the cooling system’s components: pipes, radiator, expansion tank, etc. Therefore, if you start to notice that the temperature sensor has started to show that the engine temperature is too high, then you need to look at these components first.
Note that the refrigerant need not be antifreeze. For example, a direct alternative to antifreeze is toosol.
What to do if the antifreeze leaks
So we’ve figured out the possible causes of the antifreeze leak from the car’s cooling system. The main places of refrigerant leakage and consider the tips on how to fix such problems.
If you notice that your car’s antifreeze system is leaking, the first components you should consider are the radiator system connectors. The fact is that the connectors are by their very nature a short-lived material. Under the influence of time and external factors (compression in the cold, expansion in the heat) they can appear numerous cracks.
As a result, refrigerant may seep out of the pipes. Also it is necessary to pay attention to the clamps that clamp the connectors. If used for an extended period of time, they may loosen and antifreeze will flow out of the connection points (under the clamp). Note that even a novice car enthusiast can replace the system sockets and clamps of the car cooling system.
Heat sink cover
The radiator cover is located on top of the radiator. If it is damaged or the seal on the lid itself has lost its properties, then there will be no pressure inside the radiator to pump antifreeze (or other refrigerant of your choice) through the cooling system. Also, in this case, the antifreeze will simply flow out of the radiator through the broken lid itself.
But how do you know if the antifreeze is coming from a bad radiator cover? Here we can offer you a few tips. First, check the pressure. If the radiator cover is not holding up well, then the pressure in the cooling system will be clearly below the required standard. Also, carefully inspect the cover for visual defects (cracks, chips, etc.).
Special attention should also be paid to the radiator cover sealing system. It also requires a thorough visual inspection. So, unscrew the cover and carefully inspect the main o-ring for cracks or loss of elasticity. After that, pay attention to the O-ring and the spring on the cover. Note that the spring must be quite stiff. Therefore, if you notice that the spring stiffness is not sufficient, then we strongly recommend you to replace the radiator cover.
If after self-diagnosis of the radiator cover you have not found visible problems, but you subconsciously feel that it is because of it that you have antifreeze leaks, then it is worth contacting the service station.
Very often, antifreeze leaks out of the expansion tank. Structurally, the expansion tank is a plastic container for the overflow of heated antifreeze or water. If, under the influence of time or mechanical damage, there are cracks in the expansion tank, you can see how the antifreeze leaves the tank.
The solution to this problem is very simple and cardinal: to throw away an old unsuitable tank and replace it with a new one. In addition, the expansion unit is quite a cheap unit, which can be found in almost any car parts store. And the replacement of the antifreeze tank itself is a simple process, which can be coped with even by a novice driver.
The refrigerant may also leak out of the radiator. If you experience a leak of antifreeze, carefully carry out the connections, clamps, and radiator cover. In addition, you know for a fact that the expansion tank is in order and does not leak out of it, then you have to sin on the radiator itself.
Perhaps there is a small hole on the radiator body somewhere, through which the coolant escapes. What to do in this case? The most correct way is to replace the radiator with a new one. Of course, such a replacement will cost quite a lot of money, but you will be sure that you are okay.
You can also try to fix the hole by sealing it. This will be cheaper than a complete replacement, but less reliable. Besides, it is better to entrust the replacement or repair of the radiator to professionals, so it is better to be consulted at the workshop before making any cardinal decisions.
Other possible reasons include
Only the most common locations and causes of antifreeze leaks were mentioned above. Because a car is a complex mechanism, problems can be expected anywhere. For example, it is not uncommon for antifreeze to leak out of an exhaust pipe or a damaged gasket. Leaks can often be observed from under the engine head, or from a damaged or broken water pump.
As you can see, there are many possible leaks. But we strongly recommend that you entrust the correction of such problems to a qualified technician in the workshop, who will not only properly replace the necessary parts, but also will carry out the necessary checks for the correctness of the cooling system of the car.
In addition, the antifreeze can also evaporate on its own. Therefore, it is important to control the level of coolant and refill it as needed.