Automobile|Radiator Leakage: Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

If you know a thing or two about how vehicle engines work, you must know that cooling is one of the most important aspects that ensure the proper functioning of the engine. When driving, especially when covering long distances, the engine of your vehicle gets heated as it continuously operates. A proper cooling system will help ensure that the engine does not get overheated which, otherwise, can cause significant damages to several and intricate engine parts.

And as you’d know, the radiator is the unit that does all the cooling work. Although vehicle radiators are designed to be durable and last for a long period of time, things, at times, can go wrong and the radiator can get damaged. However, the good thing is, it’s possible for you to detect some minor problems and fix them on your own using radiator stop leak products and other simple DIY ways. Doing this will save you from the hassle of hiring a professional auto technician and bearing repair expenses.


The issues of leakages in the radiator are common to many vehicle owners. However, not all issues occur due to the same cause. In other words, if you face a radiator leakage issue, it is likely that the cause is unique to your case. Here are some of the common causes of most radiator leakage cases:

Minor holes

Minor holes are sort of an inevitable issue that car owners who drive regularly face over a period of time. In most cases, minor holes in radiator occur when road debris hit the radiator at great force. Punctures that go deep inside the radiator cause the coolant to leak. This, in turn, takes a toll on the proper functioning of the radiator. Using aftermarket radiator stop leak products is one of the simple and cost-effective ways to fix minor holes and punctures by yourself.


Corrosion is one of the most common causes of radiator leakages in almost all types of vehicles. In most radiator leakage cases, corrosion occurs over time. When you regularly drive, the exterior parts of the radiator are exposed to a number of factors such as moisture, humidity, dirt, dust, and harsh chemicals. Also, sludge is one of the most common substances that lead to corrosion in the radiator over time.

Cracked hoses

Hoses of vehicle radiators designed to be highly durable and last for a long period of time. However, they can get damaged over time due to exposure to harsh chemicals and dirt from the roadway. Cracks in radiator hoses, in turn, take a toll on the cooling functionality of the radiator. As a result, it becomes prone to irreversible damages to several parts.

leaking engine hose 1


Vehicle radiators, at times, can get clogged which causes them to overheat. The overheating cause the head gasket to get damaged which, in turn, interferes with the cooling functionality of the radiator. As a result, the engine gets overheated.


Although radiator leakages are quite bothersome, it is possible for you to detect them by paying attention to the important signs. Doing this will help you get an early diagnosis of the specific problem which, in turn, can help you act immediately and lower the risk of further damage.

Here are some of the common signs of radiator leaks to check out:

Frequent overheating of the engine

One of the common radiator leak symptoms is frequent overheating of the engine. As mentioned above, the main function of the radiator is to continuously cool the engine so as to prevent it from overheating. However, any damage to the radiator can lower its functionality, causing the engine to overheat. If your car’s engine overheats for a sustained period of time, several damages can occur such as cracking in the piston, melting of the spark plug electrode straps, broken piston rings, and damages to the bearings.

Leakage of the coolant

One of the obvious signs of radiator leakage is the leakage of the coolant content that the radiator stores. As mentioned above, leakage of the coolant can occur whenever there is a minor phone or puncture in the radiator. Applying a strong radiator leak sealant is a good way to cover up the holes and punctures and prevent the coolant content from leaking.

How To Fix Coolant Leak 1
Fix a coolant leak

Discolouration of the coolant

While discolouration of the coolant is not a direct sign of radiator leakage, it definitely is one of the common symptoms of a clogged radiator. Clogging of the radiator also means thickening of the coolant which occurs due to contamination of the coolant liquid. When contaminants cause the coolant to thicken, it cannot travel freely throughout the radiator passages. Good quality vehicle coolant is either green or yellow in colour. If the colour is changed, it is a strong indication of the contamination of the coolant.


As mentioned above, there are several ways how you can fix your vehicle’s radiator leakage on your own without having to take professional help. Here are some of the easy fixes that you can try on your own:

Easy fixes for holes and punctures

Aftermarket radiator stop leak products work great in helping you cover up small holes and punctures that may occur in your vehicle’s radiator. If you choose to use a leak sealant, make sure to go for a high-quality one in order to ensure the longevity of the fixes that you’ve done.

fixes for holes and punctures

An easy fix for clogging of the radiator

If you notice discolouration and clogging of the coolant in your vehicle’s radiator, it is best to drain all the discoloured/contaminated coolant and replace it with a new one. Doing this can be easier for you if you follow the instructions manual that you received when purchasing your vehicle.

Replacing hoses

The cause of leakage in your vehicle’s radiator is cracked hoses, it’s a must to replace them with new ones. For this, you have to get the replacing done by a certified professional. A proper technician will help you get a proper diagnosis of the radiator hose leaks and strategically replace the defective hose.

Replacing the radiator

In worst-case scenarios, some vehicle owners are left with no option but to replace the entire radiator, mainly due to extensive damages to the internal radiator passages.