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Antifreeze Leak

If not repaired in time, antifreeze leak can snowball into a major car problem and come heavy on your wallet. So, knowing how to diagnose and fix it is a definite advantage.
Abhijit Naik
Antifreeze is basically a cryoprotectant used in a range of heat transfer applications to ensure that the enclosures are not subjected to any sort of physical stress as a result of expansion that takes place when water turns to ice. It is defined as 'a liquid added to water in the cooling system of the vehicle in order to lower its freezing point'.
It has a lower freezing point (and a higher boiling point) compared to water. Antifreezes are most often made from some compound of ethylene. One of the best example of antifreeze used in cars is glycol, a thick, colorless liquid produced artificially from certain ethylene compounds.

How Can You Diagnose if Antifreeze is Leaking?

Antifreeze leak can be internal as well as external. In case of an internal leak, there are significant chances that the problem might be something major, such as a cranked engine block, and you may have to toe the car to the mechanic to fix it. On the other hand, external leak is easy to diagnose and fix.
Determining the spot from where antifreeze is leaking can be of great help in diagnosing the problem. If it is leaking from the back of the engine, the chances are that the problem lies with the freeze plug, and replacing it with a new one will serve the purpose.
On the other hand, if it is leaking under the car, it may be a sign of damaged lower hose, which will have to be fixed.

How Can Antifreeze Leak be Fixed?

The simplest possible problem that you can face in terms of external leaks is a bad radiator cap. In such a case, replacing it with a new one will solve the problem. If you are not lucky enough, the problem may be with the radiator hoses, or the radiator in itself.
There are significant chances that your antifreeze leak can be traced to a crack or split in the radiator hoses or a loose hose clamp.
In case of a crack or split, you will notice a fountain of liquid oozing out from the spot. In such a case, you will have to replace the damaged hose, either upper or lower, with a new one. You may also have to replace hose clamps, which tend to get weakened with time and can't handle the pressure of the steam.
If the problem persists with the radiator itself, you can resort to some readily available additives, which need to be poured into the radiator to fix pinhole leaks. You need to keep in mind though, that this is just a temporary solution.
These leaks are the proof that excessive wear and tear has left your radiator unsuitable and it has to be changed at the earliest. Lastly, a crack in the overflow reservoir can also cause it to leak. In this case, you will have to fix this crack―ideally with some adhesive―or replace it with a new one.
In terms of money and efforts, fixing antifreeze leaks by initiating timely repair is much more convenient than repairing the damage it may cause to the engine.
In case of internal leaks, which will require professional expertise, you may have to shell out around $ 400 or so. However, external leaks will be relatively inexpensive to fix, especially if you can do it on your own.