Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car has a coolant leak

asked by on

My car recently developed a small coolant leak. It was near the area of the water pump, so I suspected the gasket. I didn't have time to fix the car, so I added a can of Barr's liquid aluminum stop leak. That helped for a few days, but then my son was driving the car and it started overheating. Turns out that there was a crack in the larger coolant elbow, which was spraying coolant up onto the top side of the hood. We replaced the elbows with aluminum ones, replaced the water pump and gasket, refilled it with coolant, and then drove around block. But after all of that, the car is still overheating all the way to the redline, and then the warning light coming on. We then replaced the thermostat and it still overheats. At this point my suspects are: A. air in system B. radiator clogged. C. heater core plugged (aka: is the coolant flow to the heater core in series or parallel with the coolant flow to the block?). D. blown head gasket. Any suggestions?

A: If you did not bleed the cooling system aft...

If you did not bleed the cooling system after performing the repair, there is probably air in the system. Air can be bled by running the engine with radiator cap removed and a special funnel installed, or by using a vacuum fill tool. If you properly bleed the system and the problem continues, it's likely that the engine was damaged from overheating and/or the Bar's Leak has clogged the cooling system. I suggest you have a trained professional diagnose your vehicle firsthand to find culprit of your overheating issue.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: There is a strong knocking sound coming from the engine. Today my car won't start. Service engine light is on. It keeps turning over

Hi there. When the crankshaft position sensor is damaged or faulty, it will cause intermittent starting issues, misfiring problems, or might cause the vehicle to fail to start entirely. The best way to resolve this issue is to contact a...

Q: Timing belt problem - 2004 Nissan Maxima

Actually yes it is normal. I will go through a few things that you may or may not have done and hopefully we can get your issue resolved. When you put your crankshaft pulley on did you use an impact?...

Q: Water leak on the passenger floorboard w/defroster and AC running.

If the leak does not contain any antifreeze or other "engine coolant" AND the leak is not due to A/C condensate backing up (if the A/C is working, just check for flow of condensate onto the ground or if this...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.