My Car is Leaking Under the Engine: What Now?

Person pouring antifreeze to the car in wintertime

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Antifreeze, or coolant, is your car's best friend in regulating engine temperature and warding off overheating. But, alas, sometimes you might spot a puddle of the stuff under the engine. Don't fret, though! This article will help you uncover common causes of antifreeze leaks, how to locate and mend them, and when an online mechanic might come in handy.

Common Causes of Antifreeze Leaks

Open hood of car with engine and cylinders

The reasons for coolant leaks can be as varied as the cars they plague, but here are some most common causes:

1. Radiator Issues

If your radiator is cracked or damaged, you can bet coolant will find its way out. A leaky radiator cap or a clogged system might also be the culprits.

2. Water Pump Woes

The water pump's job is to circulate coolant throughout the engine, so if it's broken or faulty, a leak is likely. Worn seals or a damaged impeller can cause such misfortune.

3. Hose Hiccups

The hoses connecting the radiator to the engine can suffer from wear and tear, leading to cracks, punctures, or leaks. Keep an eye on those hose clamps, too—a loose or damaged one could spell trouble.

4. Head Gasket Dilemmas

A compromised head gasket can result in coolant mixing with engine oil, resulting in overheating and—you guessed it—leaks. This is a biggie, so don't delay in addressing it to avoid major engine damage.

5. Heater Core Conundrums

A heater core warms up the car's interior, and if it's damaged or leaking, coolant might end up in the cabin or pooling beneath the engine.

Pinpointing the Leak's Origin

Internal combustion engine and other components of mechanism of expensive luxury sports car parked next to wall decorated with graffiti

Finding the leak source is essential for a proper fix. Here are some tips to help you in your quest:

1. Eyeballing It

Give your cooling system the once-over. Check the radiator, hoses, clamps, and water pump for signs of damage or leaks. Puddles or residue near these areas might indicate a leak.

2. Pressure Testing

A pressure test puts the cooling system under pressure, making leaks easier to spot. A mechanic can perform this test, or you can try a DIY kit.

3. UV Dye Examination

UV dye mixed with coolant can help detect hard-to-find leaks. Once the dye seeps out with the coolant, a UV light can reveal its hiding place.

Remedying the Coolant Leak

when to ask a mechanic

Found the pesky leak? Consider these repair options:

1. Quick Fixes

For small leaks, sealants or leak-stopping additives might buy you some time. But remember, these are temporary solutions until you can get a proper repair done.

2. Expert Assistance

For more complex issues or tricky repairs, it's a good idea to consult a mechanic as your car will have problems without antifreeze. They can evaluate the situation, recommend the right fix, and ensure your cooling system is in tip-top shape.

Proactive Steps and Upkeep

If you want to avoid future coolant leaks, follow these proactive measures and maintenance advice:

  1. Keep an eye on your coolant level, topping it off when necessary.
  2. Inspect hoses, clamps, and other cooling system parts for wear and tear.
  3. Stick to your car's suggested maintenance timeline, including coolant flushes and replacements.
  4. Monitor your car's temperature gauge to keep tabs on the engine's heat levels.
  5. Tackle any overheating issues without delay to avoid further damage.

When to Seek Online Mechanic Guidance

Car mechanic team using laptop boosting car engine at auto repair shop

Sometimes, diagnosing and fixing a coolant leak can feel like a Herculean task, and you might be unsure how to handle it. That's when an online mechanic can be a lifesaver. If you don't know how to solve your coolant leak problem then use our Ask A Mechanic Online service and we'll connect you with seasoned mechanics who can offer expert advice and guide you through the repair process. The perks of using an online mechanic service include:

  • Convenient access to professional advice from the comfort of home.
  • Speedy response times to address the issue posthaste.
  • The option to ask follow-up questions and get clarifications.
  • Wallet-friendly solutions, as online consultations are often more affordable than in-person visits.



A car leaking antifreeze under the engine is a problem that shouldn't be brushed off. By identifying the leak source, repairing it, and taking preventive steps, you can keep your car's cooling system humming along. If you're unsure how to tackle the issue, an online mechanic consultation can be a handy and convenient solution.



What if I keep driving my car with a coolant leak?

Driving with a coolant leak can cause engine overheating, which can lead to severe engine damage or even failure. It's crucial to deal with the leak ASAP. 

How much will it cost to fix a coolant leak?

The cost to fix a coolant leak depends on the issue's severity and the repair required. Simple fixes like hose replacements can be relatively inexpensive, while more complex repairs like replacing a head gasket can be costly.

Can I use water instead of coolant in my car's cooling system?

Using water instead of coolant isn't recommended, as it lacks the anti-corrosion and anti-freeze properties of antifreeze. This can lead to engine damage and reduced performance.

How often should I change my coolant?

The frequency of coolant changes depends on your car's make and model, as well as the type of coolant used. Check your owner's manual for specific recommendations.

Can I mix different types of coolant?

Mixing different types of coolant is not advisable, as it can result in reduced performance and possible damage to your car's cooling system. Always use the coolant recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.

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