Coolant is vital for the proper functioning of your car, especially its engine. It cools the engine during operation, preventing overheating. However, if the coolant level is insufficient or it suddenly drains, it can impact the entire engine system. In this article, we’ll explore the causes and solutions for rapid coolant loss!
💧 How to detect sudden coolant loss?
If your coolant suddenly drains, you’ll notice it quite quickly. There are six main signs to watch out for:
- Coolant warning light illuminates: A red light on your dashboard, symbolized by a thermometer surrounded by waves, will consistently light up.
- Frequent refilling: You’ll need to add coolant very often to keep the level between the minimum and maximum markers.
- Temperature gauge rises towards the red zone: Another indicator on the dashboard, the needle moves closer to the red zone.
- Heating malfunctions or only blows hot air: As the vehicle’s heating system is connected to the cooling system, any malfunction in the latter affects the former. The heating may not work at all or only blow hot air even when set to cold.
- Increased fuel consumption: The engine no longer operates at the optimal temperature, resulting in higher fuel consumption to maintain proper functionality.
- Sweet odor inside the cabin: Coolant is characterized by a sweet smell. If there’s a coolant leak, you’ll quickly notice this odor inside your car.
If you experience these six symptoms regularly, it indicates a malfunction within the cooling system that requires repair by an automotive expert.
⚠️ What are the causes of sudden coolant loss?
Sudden coolant loss can stem from five distinct causes:
- Coolant leakage: In the majority of cases, a significant decrease in coolant level is due to a leak in the system.
- Damaged expansion tank: If the expansion tank is deteriorated, it can result in substantial fluid loss.
- Malfunctioning water pump: When the water pump fails, it hinders the proper circulation of coolant.
- Faulty heat exchanger: The heat exchanger can no longer separate water and oil, leading to increased coolant consumption.
- Non-functioning radiator: The radiator is responsible for cooling the coolant, and its failure can cause coolant loss.
These symptoms may occur independently or together, as the deterioration of one cooling system component can have a cascading effect on other parts.
💡 What are the solutions to prevent sudden coolant loss?
Several solutions can be considered to prevent sudden coolant loss. If components like the water pump or radiator are damaged, they will need to be replaced.
However, if you’re dealing with a leak, you can use a coolant stop-leak product to seal it. Note that this solution is applicable only for small leaks.
Additionally, if your expansion tank is in poor condition, it will need to be replaced, as extensive cracks are difficult to repair. Regularly checking the coolant level will allow you to anticipate and detect any malfunctions in the cooling system.
💸 What is the cost of a coolant replacement?
The cost of a coolant replacement is not excessive. If you do it yourself, it will only cost you the price of a new coolant bottle, ranging from $10 to $15. However, if you visit an auto shop, the price will be around $50, including labor.
On the other hand, if you need to replace components of the cooling system such as the heat exchanger, radiator, or water pump, the cost may vary significantly. Feel free to request an online quote for these different interventions!
Now you have several avenues to explore when dealing with sudden coolant loss. If you suspect a leak, open your hood and inspect the entire cooling system to see if there’s any fluid dripping from any components. Visit a mechanic promptly to have them analyze the source of the malfunction!