Why Do I Have A Radiator Leak?

A leaking radiator will definitely leave you stranded on the side of the road because your vehicle will overheat. You can avoid this by checking your radiator fluid level regularly. Check the overflow and the radiator itself when your car is cold and only when it’s cold. If you see low fluid in either the reservoir or radiator, bring your vehicle into Righter’s Auto Repair right away. We’ll inspect your cooling system for a leak and fix it. Here are the reasons why your radiator might be leaking.

Rusted Radiator

A radiator that has rusted through is the most common cause of radiator leaks. Sediment is dangerous to your radiator and the problem is sediment occurs naturally in a combustion engine. This sediment is collected in your engine coolant as it travels through the motor cooling the engine down and is then deposited back into the radiator. Over time, the sediment oxidizes, turning into rust and eating through the radiator’s metal material. One it’s eaten all the way through, you have a radiator leak. You might hear of quick fixes, but in this case, it’s best to replace the radiator.

Connections and Hoses

Radiator fluid can also leak out of loose connections or worn hoses. This is bound to happen over time if you don’t have your engine’s cooling system maintained properly. Preventative maintenance allows auto technicians to find worn hoses and replace them before they become a problem. Technicians also check all connections to make sure they’re tight and sealed properly. As an aside, coolant flushes are also part of preventative maintenance, which helps prevent your car from overheating. The wrong coolant type, dirty coolant, or an incorrect coolant/water mixture can cause leaks.


Finally, overheating isn’t necessarily a leak but it will cause your vehicle to lose radiator coolant. When your car, truck, or SUV gets too hot, the coolant expands and is pushed out of the radiator and overflow reserve. This is dangerous to you and your engine. A super-hot engine is at risk of catching on fire, and the boiling coolant will expand so much, the radiator cap will explode. Once this happens, scalding hot fluid sprays everywhere. Again, this fluid loss isn’t a leak but it bears mentioning for safety purposes because you can be seriously injured by scalding radiator fluid.

Righter’s Auto Repair in Grand Ledge, MI, would be happy to fix your radiator leak, whatever the cause. Call us today to schedule an appointment.


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