The Leaky Radiator
Leaky radiators are troublesome. If you do not keep topping up the coolant in you car's radiator, you risk it overheating. A leaky radiator will leave ugly stains wherever you park. The coolant you leak can cause environmental damage. Nor is it good for your cooling system to have wildly fluctuating coolant levels.
Why do car radiators leak?
The car radiator is a surprisingly fragile piece of equipment. The cooling cores, the grate of thin metal strips you can see when you look through your grill, are made of very thin metal. Anything that hits or corrodes them can easily puncture them and cause a leak.
Your leaky radiator will then continuously drip coolant from your cooling system. There is almost no way to permanently repair a damaged core without degrading your car radiators performance.
Other cooling system leaks can come from a split hose or faulty connection to the radiator or engine. This kind of leaky radiator is often easy to fix by simply replacing the hose or repairing the connection.
Sometimes, you may have a crack or hole in the coolant overflow tanks on the top or sides of your car radiators. If you have plastic overflow tanks, this kind of leaky radiator can sometimes be repaired with epoxy or resin sealant.
With metal tanks, patching the hole is much more difficult and repair costs are often, with most radiators, more than the replacement cost for the entire unit.
Finding your radiators leak
Many times when you have a leaky radiator, you cannot see where exactly it is leaking from. The leak is likely small (since you're suffering from a leaky radiator not a broken radiator) a will almost always drip off the bottom of the car radiator.
The easiest way to find the leak is to trace the path of the wetness. A wet patch on part of a cooling core means that one of the cores is damaged, but maybe on the interior.
If you cannot immediately locate the leak in your car's radiator, you can try removing it and testing it for leaks. Read our article on car radiator removal to find out how.