Q:

How do you find a leak in a radiator coolant reservoir?

A:

Quick Answer

Determine the location of a radiator coolant recovery tank leak by waiting until the system is cool, removing the coolant with a siphon, and looking for coolant or rust stains surrounding the leak. It is sometimes necessary to remove the recovery hoses and tank from the vehicle to find hidden leaks. Look for cracks near seams and around the brackets that connect the unit to the vehicle, where stress is greatest.

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Full Answer

Sometimes, the leaking tank leaves a pool of coolant on the ground under a parked car. In other cases, the coolant leaks slowly, and the level drops. Have the cooling system pressure-tested to rule out leaks in the radiator, engine and hoses.

It is sometimes possible to repair the cracked recovery tank. Completely empty the tank, rinse it in clear water and dry it well. Mix epoxy cement according to the manufacturer's directions and use a putty knife to press the cement into the crack, making sure it is completely full. Once the cement dries, reinstall the tank, fill the coolant system, and start the car. Once it reaches operating temperature, recheck for any leaks.

If the tank continues to leak after repairing it, replace it. Overheating an engine has the potential to cause major mechanical damage.

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