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Do I Have a Coolant Leak?

Do I Have a Coolant Leak?

How to Diagnose your car's Heating System

We’re already heading into the minus-freezing temps, so you want to be sure your heating system is working properly. That system relies heavily on coolant. If your car leaks coolant somewhere, you won’t be enjoying a nice cozy drive this season.


First, it’s important to understand why coolant is necessary to your heating system.

Coolant carries heat that’s generated from the engine to the cabin of your car. Through a series of hoses, that coolant is directed to your radiator, where the heat is dissipated outside your car, and to the heater core that’s located behind the vents on your dash. If those hoses sprout a leak, coolant leaves the heating system – a dangerous problem if left unaddressed for long.

So how can you find out if you have a coolant leak?

You can look for any of these three tell-tale signs:

  1. You smell something sickly sweet when you drive at highway speeds

When coolant overheats, it smells like maple syrup. If your radiator leaks coolant, the engine will likely heat up that fluid (maybe even to boiling). The heater core located behind the vents in the dashboard will bring that odor straight into the cabin of your vehicle.

  1. Your temperature gauge is higher than the halfway mark diagnosing your car's heating system

Your radiator is responsible for cooling the engine. If it has a leak, it won’t dissipate heat like it should. The temperature of your engine will continue to rise until you turn off your car.

  1. You see a puddle under your parked car

If your car is parked for a significant amount of time, a puddle of coolant will form under the front where the heating system is located.


If you experience any of these 3 instances, pull over to the side of the road and turn the engine off. You don’t want your engine to overheat more than it already has.


To fix coolant leaks, you may need a new radiator, new hoses, or fresh coolant. It all depends on where the leak is located. If you need help diagnosing your car’s heating system, contact us immediately and we can help you locate and correct the problem!




Written on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 by
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