Q: Q: My car is overheating and has a radiator leak

asked by on

Yesterday on my way home from work about a half mile away from my house I noticed the car was smoking from under the hood, I pulled in my driveway and noticed I had a radiator leak. My heat is not working which leads me to believe I might need a water pump. I'm considering getting the car towed to a shop ( still runs and drives fine ) do you think I just need a radiator or a water pump or a thermostat ? Any input would be much appreciated ! Let me know if I can give you any more information that might help.

My car has 126000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This can be caused by a number of things such as low coolant levels, a faulty thermostat, or a failing coolant fan switch. As you may know the coolant fan switch helps to maintain the proper coolant temperature by turning on and off at specific temperature thresholds. When this switch is not working properly, this can cause the fans to come on intermittently, all the time or sometimes not at all. When this happens you will notice a temperature spike and drop occasionally as the fan comes on and off.

When your thermostat is not working properly or is stuck closed, this will not allow the coolant to properly circulate through the engine, which may cause the engine temperature to fluctuate erratically or in some cases just remain hot.

Depending on the location of the water leak, this may also be the result of a failing water pump. You may notice a slight whining sound due to a loose water pump pulley, steam coming from the radiator (as you described) and the most obvious for most, the engine overheating.

If you want to avoid having your car towed to a shop, I would suggest having an expert from YourMechanic come to your home to diagnose your cooling system and make the necessary repairs. Best of luck.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Q: My car is overheating and has a radiator leak

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Coolant system temperature oscillates - 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe

Hi there. With having your radiator flushed twice and having a thermostat replaced, I believe that the problem lies within the water pump. There is a build up in the water pump and is causing the water to fluctuate. Remove...

Q: 2008 chevy Malibu 3.6 v6 over heating after water pump replacement

Overheating will warp the cylinder head and/or engine block causing costly damage so be sure to get this resolved right away. Indeed, it is best not to drive the car if you know the engine is operating outside the normal...

Q: There is no Check Engine Light on but the car is making a lot of noise - it still runs ok

Hello - there are many things in the engine compartment which can cause unsettling noises: accessory belt idler pulley bearing failure, timing chain guide, tensioner or idler wear, valve timing cam actuators, as well as more traditional noises like worn...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
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.