Your car operates in extreme temperatures, below freezing in the winter and hot conditions in the summer. Moreover, the engine itself generates tremendous heat when operating. A properly functioning cooling system will keep your engine at the optimal operating temperature. So, when you develop a leak, you must repair it as soon as possible. When searching for a repair station for a coolant leak fix, choose Havoline Xpress Lube of Kernersville.
We’re a family-owned-and-operated business serving the Kernersville area. For over 24 years, we’ve been maintaining, servicing, and cleaning your neighbors’ cars. From repairing coolant leaks to many other common repairs, we perform quality work at a fair price. Plus, we can deep clean your car with our detailing service and on-site car wash. But, we’re more than just your neighborhood mechanic, our clients also become our friends.
How Can I Tell If I Have An Antifreeze Leak In My Cooling System?
Generally, your engine doesn’t overheat without giving you some indicator that something is wrong. If you have an external coolant leak, you will have a tangible sign:
- Sweet smell coming from your car
- Puddles of lime-green, orange, pink, or blue under your car
- Your engine runs hot
- Dashboard coolant light illuminates
Sometimes, you may notice a sweet smell near your car. The main ingredient in antifreeze, ethylene glycol, generates this scent. You will detect this smell inside your car if you’re leaking antifreeze in your heater core.
Occasionally, you may find a puddle underneath your vehicle. It’s important to try to identify the liquid. A thick black liquid could indicate an oil leak. Conversely, a water puddle may be condensation from running your air conditioner. Coolant is a bright color with an oily sort of feel to it.
Furthermore, low coolant will cause your engine to run hotter. Many newer cars come equipped with dashboard indicator lights. When your level drops below a certain level, your dashboard light will illuminate. Do not continue driving but safely pull over and turn your car off. Once your engine is cool, check your coolant level. If it’s low, add water to be able to get to a service station immediately.
You can usually detect an internal coolant leak by checking your coolant reservoir. When the engine is cool, the coolant level should be between the minimum and maximum levels. If you’re constantly adding coolant to the expansion tank, it’s a good indicator you have an internal leak.
Reasons Why You May Have A Coolant Leak
The coolant in your vehicle moves through the engine under extreme pressure and heat. Under these circumstances, parts can fail. Additionally, failing to perform routine maintenance, like changing fluids, can wear down components:
- Expansion tank
- Heater core
Gaskets, seals, and O-rings keep your coolant properly separated within an engine. Heat, humidity, and time can cause these important components to fail. Once they do, it’s an opportunity for coolant to leak. Your water pump and radiator cap both contain gaskets or seals that can leak antifreeze.
Your car engine’s coolant flows through your engine via hoses. Sometimes a hose clamp will loosen causing a coolant leak. Moreover, many car engine hoses are rubber. Over time, rubber becomes hard and brittle and likely to crack.
A radiator leak is fairly common too. Corrosion is the most common reason for your radiator to have an antifreeze leak. Most automakers use an aluminum radiator which is pretty good at resisting corrosion. However, the failure to change your anti-freeze on schedule can cause deterioration.
Similar to your radiator is your heater core. Your heater core radiates heat into the cabin and through the defroster vents. It can develop leaks from corrosion just like your radiator.
Finally, a crack in your expansion tank will leak out engine coolant. The constant exposure to temperature changes can weaken the plastic tank. This stress of heating and cooling can cause the tank to crack.
Can I Drive With Low Coolant?
Driving with an engine coolant leak or low coolant is never a good idea. Your engine relies on a properly running cooling system to keep the temperature within an optimal range. Without enough coolant, you run the risk of overheating.
As the metal in your engine rises in temperature, it expands. An increase of just 20 degrees above normal will cause serious engine damage. You may start to hear a knocking noise as the expanded metal bangs together.
Moreover, the expanded metal will also crush seals and gaskets. An overheated engine is the most common cause of a blown head gasket. The head gasket seals the combustion process and prevents the oil and coolant from mixing.
A blown head gasket will harm your engine even further. Without this gasket, coolant will leak into your engine oil reducing its lubrication properties. This lack of lubrication leads to further overheating and severe engine damage.
If you suspect a coolant leak, get professional help right away. Leave a coolant leak fix to the professional mechanics at Havoline Xpress Lube of Kernersville. We’ll have your car diagnosed and fixed quickly and efficiently.
Your Car Engine’s Coolant System – Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic that we hear from our clients. If you still have more questions about your car’s cooling system, don’t hesitate to call us at 336-993-7697. We’re always delighted to talk about car mechanics.
What’s the difference between antifreeze and coolant?
Antifreeze is a chemical composition of either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. Due to its chemical properties, it doesn’t freeze or boil easily. Alone, its freezing point is 8.6°F and its boiling point is 388°F.
Coolant is a mixture of 50/50 water and antifreeze. Mixing water with coolant, you lower the freezing point of water to -35°F and raise the boiling point to 223°F.
Why shouldn’t I use 100% antifreeze in my cooling system?
Taken alone, neither antifreeze nor water provides sufficient temperature protection for your engine. Pure antifreeze doesn’t have the same heat transfer capabilities as coolant. Generally, coolant has 35% more heat transferring ability than pure antifreeze.
Moreover, manufacturers combine anti-corrosive chemicals into anti-freeze products. These additives have a stronger tendency to settle in pure antifreeze. Mixed with water, however, these additives stay suspended to provide ultimate protection.
Why does antifreeze come in different colors?
Manufacturers tint antifreeze based on its chemistry and anti-corrosive additives. Anti-freeze may contain phosphates, silicates, or organic acids. These additives offer protection throughout your cooling system. Manufacturers tint each formula a particular color to designate its chemical composition.
Generally, you should stay with the original color of your car’s antifreeze. Your automobile designed the cooling system to operate with that particular type of antifreeze. Check your car’s owner’s manual to find the correct antifreeze for your vehicle.
How often should I change my coolant?
Sometimes, you can tell you need to change your coolant. Rust, appearing as red flakes, is one such indicator. Other times you can’t tell you need new coolant by looking at it. Yet, as it ages, coolant degrades losing its effectiveness.
Most vehicles need periodic fluid changes. Engine design and coolant formula determine how often. Generally, older cars required a coolant change about every 2-3 years, 24,000 – 36,000 miles. Newer engines and antifreeze formulas allow a greater interval between changes. Once again, check your owner’s manual and antifreeze manufacturer for specific guidelines.
What is the best brand of coolant?
Havoline is our brand of choice. This product provides improved heat transfer while providing outstanding metal protection. Plus, its formulation reduces the occurrence of hard water scaling. Finally, it can help extend the life of your water pump by minimizing the creation of abrasive solids.
A Few Other Causes Of Your Engine Overheating
Low coolant is one of the most common causes of overheating engines. Failing parts can cause coolant leakage. Your engine’s water pump, thermostat, or radiator cap may be a source of a leak.
The water pump pushes the coolant through the system. Generally, your water pump lasts between 60,000-90,000 miles. As it ages, it can begin to leak coolant or make a whining noise.
Generally, cold engines don’t operate as efficiently as warm ones. Thus, the thermostat will be in the closed position for a cold engine. This prevents coolant from flowing through the radiator to cool down. Once the engine heats up, the thermostat opens allowing the coolant to flow to the radiator to release heat.
However, a faulty thermostat will stay in the closed position once the engine heats up. Without coolant flowing into your radiator to cool down, your engine will quickly overheat.
Finally, check your radiator cap. This part is responsible for maintaining the correct pressure of your engine coolant. By raising the pressure of the coolant, you increase the boiling point so that the coolant can hold more heat. However, more pressure also means the coolant expands and must flow to the expansion tank. Then, as the pressure decreases, the coolant flows back into the car radiator.
A faulty radiator cap won’t maintain the correct pressure. Too much pressure and you may blow a radiator hose. Incorrect pressure may also cause your hoses to collapse.
What Else Can We Do For You
Xpress Lube of Kernersville is a full-service auto repair station. If you’re experiencing any type of fluid leak, let us take a look at it. Our ASE-certified mechanics use the latest diagnostic equipment to take care of all your repair and maintenance needs. We can perform over 30 common repairs from coolant flushes to oil changes:
- Exhaust systems
- State inspections
- Electronic diagnostics
- Oil changes
- Radiator flushes
- And more!
And to keep the outside of your car looking great, we also have a state-of-the-art car wash. Our new revolutionary car wash formula, Luminara, will deep clean your automobile like never before. Plus, it adds a water repellency and surface protection designed to give your vehicle a showroom shine.
Our service area and carwash are open Monday through Friday 7:30 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday 7:30 am – 4:30 pm. For your convenience, you can also get your car washed on Sundays from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Rely On The Professionals For Your Coolant Leak Fix
Sometimes, we put off routine maintenance or minor problems thinking we’re saving money. However, the issue won’t go away and often becomes worse. Then instead of a minor repair, you’re facing a big car repair expense. Simply using a stop leak product may not actually fix your problem. A coolant leak fix is one of those repairs best left to the professionals, like Havoline Xpress Lube of Kernersville.
For more than 2 decades our owner, Mac Allen, has provided value-driven service in an inviting, friendly environment. We strive hard to make servicing and repairing your vehicle as simple, and hassle-free as possible.
Moreover, we appreciate your business and reward you for your loyalty. Our loyalty program gives you points for every dollar spent. Then, redeem your points for oil changes, coolant flushes, car washes, or whatever type of service you need. Simply sign up here and start earning your reward today.