Here are the Causes, Characteristics and Effects of a Leaking Car Radiator!

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When driving a car, sometimes we are faced with unexpected problems. One common problem that can interfere with driving comfort is a leaking car radiator. The radiator plays an important role in maintaining optimal engine temperature. Leaking car radiator can cause a number of problems. So, don’t let this problem happen to you.

Recognize the causes of radiator leaks, characteristics, and the impact they cause in this article so that you are more vigilant when driving. Without lingering, let’s discuss the explanation with  TransTRACK.

Causes of Car Radiator Leaking

There are several factors that can cause a car radiator to leak. Knowing the cause can help car owners to better understand the condition of the engine and prevent further damage. Here are some common causes of leaking car radiators:


Corrosion of the radiator is usually caused by three main factors. First is excessive acid or base content in the coolant. Second is the electrolyte in the water used to mix the coolant. Third is the presence of air bubbles in the cooling system which can accelerate corrosion.

These factors will affect the radiator’s condition slowly. The zinc and copper coating on the radiator will corrode and thin over time. When this layer is very thin and perforated, leaks are inevitable. Small holes that initially caused only minor seepage can eventually grow larger and cause severe leaks.

Physical Damage

Physical damage can also cause leaks in the car radiator. Physical damage can be caused by several things. First, a hard impact on the front such as when the car is in an accident or hit by a hard object. Secondly, being hit by stones or road debris thrown into the radiator area.

Physical damage is usually in the form of dents, small holes due to scratches or tears on the radiator surface. If the damage is minor, there may only be slow seepage. But if it’s severe, the radiator can leak immediately. Even in the most severe cases, the radiator frame can bend or the connections between the radiator pipes come apart, allowing coolant to escape quickly.

Seal Damage

Seals are flexible components that serve to prevent fluid leakage at pipe joints or radiator components. In regular use, these seals will eventually wear and harden, losing their flexibility. As a result, the seal is no longer able to withstand the pressure of the coolant. The result is seepage that can eventually become a leak in the seal area.

In addition to wear, seals can also be damaged by exposure to oil, grease, or petroleum. Seal damage usually causes a slow leak at first, but over time it can become worse.

Radiator Age

All engine components have a lifespan, including the radiator. Over time, the radiator can experience wear and leakage as a result of the continuous use process. Car owners should pay attention to the age of the radiator and conduct periodic checks.

As a first step, you can check the manual book of the car manufacturer you own. Usually, the manual contains car maintenance procedures such as when to change oil, tire pressure, including radiator maintenance.

Characteristics of a Leaking Car Radiator

In order to immediately identify a leaking car radiator problem, it is important to know the characteristics that may appear. Here are some characteristics that need to be considered:

Water on the Garage Floor

One of the most obvious characteristics of a leaking car radiator is the signs of water leaking on the floor of the garage or car park. If you see a puddle of green or red liquid under the car, it could be an indication that the radiator is leaking.

Increased Engine Temperature

If the engine temperature is constantly rising despite using enough coolant, there could be a problem with the radiator. Leaks in the radiator can result in an ineffective cooling system, causing the engine temperature to rise.

Strange Coolant Odor

A leak in the radiator can produce a strange coolant odor. If you smell an unusual odor when the car is stopped, immediately check the underside of the car to make sure there are no leaks.

Impact of Car Radiator Leaks

Leaks in car radiators can have a serious impact on the health and performance of the engine. Here is a detailed explanation of the effects of car radiator leaks:

Engine Overheating

A leak in the radiator can cause the cooling system to lose coolant significantly. As a result, the engine may experience overheating or an excessive increase in temperature. Overheating can damage engine components that are sensitive to high temperatures, such as clutches and engine seals.

Decreased Fuel Efficiency

Overheating and engine damage due to radiator leaks can result in decreased fuel efficiency. An engine running at a non-optimal temperature will consume more fuel to maintain its performance, resulting in poor fuel efficiency.

Automatic Transmission Malfunction

Some modern cars have transmission coolers integrated with the engine cooling system. A radiator leak can result in the ingress of coolant into the transmission system, causing serious damage to automatic transmission components. This can result in high repair costs.

Solving a leaking car radiator problem requires a quick response and proper handling. With in-depth understanding, car owners can minimize the risk of further damage.

To prevent car radiator leaking problems, regular maintenance and an effective monitoring system are essential. One of the modern solutions that can help car owners is using  Vehicle Maintenance System (VMS) from  TransTRACK. The use of a Vehicle Maintenance System can be an effective preventive measure to prevent problems with the car radiator.

With its advanced technology, VMS monitors engine temperature in real-time, provides periodic maintenance notifications on the cooling system, and records maintenance history. Thus, car owners can identify potential radiator problems before they become serious, maintain the health of the cooling system, and avoid costly leaks. The implementation of VMS not only improves maintenance efficiency, but also gives vehicle owners peace of mind in maintaining the optimal performance of the car engine.


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