If you observe antifreeze leaking from the engine of your vehicle, the wise move is to get it taken care of as soon as you can. A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water flows around the engine when in use, keeping it from overheating, so a leak can mean serious trouble. Eventually the radiator and the reservoir will run dry and lead to the failure of the engine. While checking for coolant leak can be difficult, there are a few places to immediately check.

1. Radiator Hoses

The hose that runs into or out of the radiator may be the reason. Hoses crack and split over time, so closely inspect the length of your hoses for any visible damage. Hose clamps that connect the hoses to the radiator can also go bad with extended use. These changes can be made without professional help so long as you know how.


2. Radiator Cap

The radiator cap is seen on the top of the radiator. If damaged or if its seal is broken, it will no longer have the pressure built up inside the radiator, causing fluid to leak while the car is running. A bad cap can even cause the radiator hose to fall flat.

There are many things to check for when trying to figure out whether your radiator cap is the source of a coolant leak. Start with making sure that the cap has the right pressure rating for your car. Obviously, the cap doesn’t have to be spoilt to be causing a leak if the pressure rating is not correct for your radiator.

A bad seal on the radiator cap can be seen with just a visual inspection of the main seal, pressure, and valve seal. Also, the spring in the cap should have resistance, and if there is none, it need for change.

If you’re still sure your radiator cap is the issue, but have yet to find an apparent issue, you can test it with a professional pressure testing device if you have one available.

3. Reservoir

This plastic container is an overflow reservoir for heated antifreeze and water. Should it have a small crack or hole, coolant will gradually sip out, so a damaged reservoir will need to be changed. A new coolant tank can be found at any auto parts store for cheap, and they are fairly simple to mount.

4. Radiator

It could also be that the radiator itself has leakage. If all the components listed above have checked out fine, then it’s time to take your car in to a shop. This problem will need a costlier, more involved fix that’s best left to a mechanic.

5. Other Possible Causes

Other possible causes for an antifreeze leak include a damaged or faulty water pump, intake manifold gasket, or heater core, all components of the coolant system. Like with a radiator change, these parts should be inspected and repaired by a proffessional.