Your car’s coolant is one of the most vital components in your vehicle because it prevents freezing and overheating. Thus, you’re right to search for help if you keep losing it.
These are some common reasons your car doesn’t seem to hold water.
1. Your Reservoir Has a Leak
Your coolant reservoir is a plastic container that stores coolant in it. It’s usually connected to the radiator by a rubber hose.
You could lose coolant from it if the reservoir itself becomes punctured or damaged.
Alternatively, you could lose your coolant through a cap that isn’t properly shut.
You will most likely notice visible signs like smoke coming from under your hood as the leaking coolant hits hot engine parts. You may even smell the sweet smell of antifreeze.
Check this area if you keep losing coolant, and you may just find the problem.
2. Your Radiator Has a Hole in It
Sometimes coolant leaks come from faulty radiators.
Your system may have a hole in it, and you could be losing your coolant through that hole. Corrosion can also cause a radiator to develop open spots. Alternatively, your coolant could escape through a worn gasket.
It may not be easy for you to see the leak from the radiator because of its placement in the car.
However, you may be able to generalize the leak by inspecting the drips and puddles. Auto mechanics can conduct deeper investigations when they get the vehicle to their shop.
3. You Have a Loose or Damaged Hose
Your cooling system is connected by many rubber hoses that deteriorate and decay over time.
These hoses can also be punctured or sliced, which may be why you lose your coolant.
Alternatively, you could lose it through a loose clamp or connection. It only takes one poor connection to cause the coolant to flow out when the pressure is high.
Pinpointing the exact location of your leak will require you to clean off the vehicle with a dry rag and watch it as it runs. You may notice new wet spots emerge or see a stream of fluid shoot up from the area where the hose is punctured.
Fortunately, replacing a hose isn’t that costly.
However, the job can be messy if you aren’t quick, or you don’t clamp the areas when you remove the old hose.
4. You Have a Bad Radiator Cap
You could also lose your coolant from a loose radiator cap.
Open your hood after your vehicle has cooled off for at least a half-hour. Touching your cap before then can cause you to suffer some pretty severe burns.
Once it’s safe to check the radiator cap, you’ll need to place your hand on it to see if it’s loose. You may be able to resolve your problem by tightening the cap.
Otherwise, you may have a worn cap that allows coolant to escape when your system pressurizes.
In that case, you’ll need to have the radiator cap replaced, and it needs to be the proper cap for your radiator.
This may also cause some water to evaporate, in that case, you may have a car losing water without leaking.
5. Bad Water Pump
The seals of your water pump can go bad, as well as the propeller.
These issues can cause major coolant leaks that will probably be difficult not to notice.
You will see a catastrophic leak coming from the water pump’s location if that’s the case. Water pump replacement is generally complex, and it may require you to take it to a service shop immediately.
6. You Have an Internal Leak
Some coolant leaks cannot easily be seen with the naked eye.
There are several internal problems you could be experiencing, and those issues require the assistance of an experienced mechanic.
The problems include the following:
7. Blown Head Gasket
Your head gasket is a thin seal that goes in between your cylinder heads and engine block.
If the gasket gets a hole in it, your coolant can seep into the combustion chamber and cause a host of problems.
You will see that you are losing coolant rapidly, but you’ll also see other symptoms.
One common symptom of a blown head gasket is thick white smoke escaping from the exhaust pipe. You will also see that your vehicle has a massive power loss and seems to overheat repeatedly.
Another sign of a blown head gasket is oil in your antifreeze. It will look much like a chocolate milkshake, and you’ll know you have a problem because no milkshake antifreeze brand exists.
Your oil dipstick will also have a milky texture because the coolant has mixed with the oil.
Important to check the gasket
A blown head gasket is a destructive issue that can destroy your engine in worse ways if you don’t have someone tend to it. It would be wise to schedule an immediate appointment with a service center if you believe your head gasket may be blown.
A mechanic or technician will perform the necessary tests to verify the issue.
To prevent a blown head gasket, you should always tend to coolant leaks to avoid allowing your vehicle to run with no coolant.
Additionally, you should shut your car down if you notice it overheating.
Most cars have a digital or needled temperature gauge that notifies the driver when the vehicle is overheating. Start looking for a location to park your vehicle if you notice your needle or display moving past the half-point rapidly.
Your prompt attention can save your motor from destruction.
Head gasket repairs are costly because the work requires the technician to disassemble the upper portion of your motor.
8. Cracked Head
A cracked head is one of the problems that can arise if you continue to drive your vehicle despite the warning signs of a blown head gasket.
Operating the car while it’s overheating is one of the leading causes of cracked heads.
Since cracked heads have many of the same symptoms as a blown head gasket, you will not be able to tell which problem is occurring in your car. Your mechanic will have to disassemble the top of your motor.
Thus, he or she may suspect a blown head gasket and then find that your head has cracked in the process.
9. Cracked Engine Block
The engine’s block can also crack and can cause some of the same symptoms as the two previously mentioned issues. This problem is more severe and costly because it will most likely require you to pay for a new engine block.
Some professionals may have ways to restore cracked engine blocks, but the repair will still be costly.
Damaged cylinder bores are another problem that can cause you to lose your coolant without showing you a physical leak.
10. A Leaking Turbo Seal
You can experience a loss of coolant if your vehicle has a turbo system.
If that’s the case, your turbo system’s seal may have become damaged or worn.
Turbo systems are usually cooled using coolant, and when the seals go, the coolant escapes. You might notice smoke coming from your exhaust if this problem is your issue.
11. Bad Intake Manifold Gasket
The reason for your coolant loss may not be the head gasket at all.
If your intake manifold gasket has water jackets, you can lose coolant that way as well. The leak would cause coolant to be drawn into your combustion chamber and cause symptoms similar to that of a blown head gasket.
The good part about having an intake manifold gasket issue is that your mechanic won’t have to go as deep to replace it.
That may save you a little money on the repair bill, but it’s still a major issue you need to address immediately.
Now you know a few of the most common reasons your car won’t hold water. Other problems can also cause the issues you’re experiencing.
Schedule an appointment with a certified automotive specialist if you can’t find a visible leak coming from an obvious place or your car overheats repeatedly.