4 Common Signs Of A Radiator Leak

Jitendra Bothra
Est. Reading Time 3 mins

A car engine creates a lot of heat while operating, for which it needs a radiator to back up and control its temperature. A radiator is an integral part of an engine’s cooling system and is a fundamental component that functions by passing coolant through metal thin and eliminating excessive heat from the engine. Sometimes, worn parts from a cooling system like hoses, tubes cause coolants to leak and end up overheating the engine. Also, poor service practices contribute to leaks in radiators and cause real damage to your vehicle.

A damaged radiator can cause continuous coolant loss and accumulate rust over time. If not cleaned properly, it will obstruct the coolant flow throughout the engine parts, and cause damage. To avoid that, here are four common signs of a radiator leak you should know as a car owner.

1) Low Coolant Level

It is normal for coolant to drop gradually with the regular use of a vehicle. But if you see a consistent drop in coolant level, it can be a sign of a radiator leak. It is necessary to check the coolant reservoir to ensure it is full and doesn’t leak. If it does, approach a mechanic and get it repaired.

2) White Exhaust Smoke

White smoke is an abnormality that occurs due to cooling system issues. The exhaust fumes either come out of the tailpipe or under the hood. However, it is a sure sign of an internal coolant leak that causes coolant to burn out. If you find smoke coming out of the hood, immediately stop the vehicle as it is a positive sign of overheating.

3) Discolouration Or Corrosion

Discolouration or corrosion are some of the common signs to identify radiator leaks. Hoses from the cooling system spring an external leak and allow coolant to spread under the radiator and on the hot engine parts. It boils off and removes the paint layer from the surface, causing discoloration and rust.

4) Puddles Underneath The Engine

If you discover a puddle of slimy green and sweet-smelling fluid under your car, it is a clear example of radiator leaks. Immediately head to a nearby auto repair shop to fix the leakage problems.

Apart from these four signs, more issues indicate a radiator leak, such as :

  • Faulty Radiator Hoses

Gradual deterioration is quite obvious while using a car regularly. Radiator hoses and clamps are no exception. These parts wear away over time and encourage coolant leakage. A periodic examination of these parts will help you spot the radiator issues and fix them on priority.

  • Frequent Engine Overheating

Thanks to the radiator, your car engine vents heat while operating. However, malfunctioning radiator or coolant leaks can cause frequent overheating, leading to severe engine problems.

  • Rising Temperature Gauge

Sometimes, the sign of the radiator issue is right in front of you. For example, the temperature gauge on the dashboard reads high when the radiator leaks and fails to control engine heat. Make sure you shut off the car when you see the gauge turns red.



Radiator problems are not always visible to you. Sometimes, they are hidden and minor that you might not understand quickly. It is good to have basic knowledge about the cooling system and the functioning of its parts to detect the problem on time and avoid potential issues like engine failure.

We hope the above signs will help you identify the radiator leak problems. Head to Cars24 for assistance with advanced radiator repairs.

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