2 Subtle Signs Your Car Is Leaking Coolant

If you have noticed that your car seems to be running a little hot when you look at the temperature gauge on the dashboard, you may start to suspect that you have a coolant leak. If the weather is unusually hot or you only notice the increase when you are sitting still, however, you may wonder if this is the case, especially if you see no other overt signs such as spewing or pooling coolant. If so, there are a couple of subtle signs for which you can be on the lookout that indicates that your car's coolant is leaking.

1.  Odd Odor Coming out of Your Compartment Vents

One subtle sign that your car is leaking coolant is an odd odor that seems to come out of the compartment vents whenever you are running either the heater or air conditioner. This sickly sweet odor is caused when antifreeze starts to burn or bubble outside of the radiator or coolant lines.

At first, you may only get a small whiff of the odor, especially if the coolant is only dripping on the manifold or engine block. However, the stronger you detect the odor, the worse the leak has become. Eventually, you may even see thick condensation coming out of your vents. 

2.  Smoke Rolling Out of Your Car's Exhaust Pipe Has Turned White

Another subtle sign that your car is leaking coolant could be missed unless you or someone else is standing behind your car while it is running while observing the exhaust pipe. When your car is working properly, you may see an initial puff of light gray smoke coming out of the pipe. Then, it should be virtually undetectable.

However, if your car is leaking coolant, the smoke will take on a thick, white color. If you see this color, your engine is in dire need of immediate repairs.

When you see white smoke coming out of your exhaust, this means that the coolant is leaking into the combustion chamber of the engine and is burning off. Since this only happens when there is a crack in the block or head gasket, you run the risk of having your engine completely seize up if you ignore the problem.

If you notice the above signs and suspect that you have a coolant leak, you need to have your car inspected as soon as possible. Take your car to a car repair service so that they can verify a coolant leak and its location so that they can take the appropriate action to fix the issue.