Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Coolant Recovery Reservoir

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The coolant recovery reservoir is the storage and supply reservoir for engine coolant. It is usually located in the engine bay near the radiator. A coolant recovery reservoir is required because automotive cooling systems go through cycles of expelling and absorbing coolant through their normal operation. When the engine is cool the pressure is low and it requires more coolant, when it is hot the coolant expands and less is required.

A pressurized cap allows the excess coolant to purge into the reservoir when the pressure has reached a certain threshold. For some vehicles, the coolant recovery reservoir is also a part of the pressurized system, and acts as an important pressure equalization chamber for the engine's cooling system. Because it is an important component of the vehicle’s cooling system, when the coolant recovery reservoir has problems it can quickly lead to issues that can cause damage to the engine. Usually a problematic coolant recovery reservoir will display a few symptoms that can alert the driver that a potential problem has occurred and should be serviced.

1. Constantly having to add coolant

Having to constantly add coolant to a vehicle is one of the first symptoms of a problem with a coolant recovery reservoir. If the coolant reservoir has any small leaks it may cause the coolant to leak or evaporate at a slow rate that will not be easily noticeable to the driver. Coolant will have to constantly added to the vehicle every so often. This problem can also be caused by a leak somewhere else in the cooling system, so a proper diagnosis is recommended.

2. Visible coolant leaks

Another symptom commonly associated with a bad or failing coolant recovery reservoir is leaking coolant. If the coolant recovery reservoir becomes damaged or develops any cracks, perhaps due to old age or boiling coolant, it will cause coolant leaks. Small leaks or cracks may produce steam, drips, and a faint coolant odor, while large leaks may produce puddles and an obvious coolant odor. Any coolant leaks should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent overheating.

3. Engine overheating

The engine overheating is another symptom of a potential problem with the coolant recovery reservoir. If the reservoir leaks and the coolant level drops too low that can quickly lead to the engine overheating, depending on the size of the leak. For vehicles where the reservoir is part of the pressurized coolant system, if the reservoir has any issue it can disturb the cooling system’s pressure which can also cause overheating.

The coolant recovery reservoir is an important component to any vehicle as it is part of the engine’s cooling system, which protects the engine from overheating. For this reason, if you suspect that your coolant recovery reservoir may be having an issue, have the vehicle properly diagnosed by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if a coolant recovery reservoir replacement is needed.


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Michael

15 years of experience
518 reviews
Michael
15 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Atlanta, Georgia
Micheal was punctual and friendly. Work was completed within promised time. Will definitely use again.
Volvo S80 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Roswell, Georgia
Michael was SUPER QUICK with doing my brake and rotors. Great communication throughout the whole process. Will always recommend

Kenneth

19 years of experience
509 reviews
Kenneth
19 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport Beach, California
Kenneth did a great job and very knowledgeable. He has a great attitude and I will for sure be using him again.

Chuy

13 years of experience
129 reviews
Chuy
13 years of experience
Honda Civic - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Cicero, Illinois
Excellent work on doing the breaks for my car and the break and steering system flush I’ll definitely recommend and take into consideration for chuy’s work whenever I need a fix on my car

Richard

16 years of experience
72 reviews
Richard
16 years of experience
BMW 328i - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Dublin, California
Richard was an outstanding mechanic. After he arrived, the first thing he did after taking the initial pictures of the car is an assessment into what work was asked. He quickly verified that I did not need brake fluid and my front brakes even-though it affects his personal commitments and time, which I think is highly appreciate and thorough professional. He was detailed oriented - took time to make sure that all the issue are fixed. He paid attention to detail in overall car assessment- he goes above and beyond. He was also teaching me through the process which I found highly educational and appreciate him providing the information ensuring and making me comfortable what he was doing and explaining patiently all the questions that was thrown at him. When he works - you know he's highly skilled and experienced and knows his stuff. He is highly experienced. He is a "Master" mechanic in true sense :)

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