Q: Radiator not holding water

asked by on January 26, 2016

My car won't hold water in the radiator. I also have water leaking from the tailpipe.

This is a common issue. Many of the radiators installed in vehicles are aluminum cores with plastic water tanks. There is a gasket that seals them together. Over time the gasket fails and water starts to leak from between the core and the tank. The issue is repaired by replacing the radiator. This is something that should be repaired to avoid overheating the engine and causing further damage. One of the by-products of overheating is a blown head gasket. This is what people fear sometimes when they see water coming from their exhaust. Don’t panic, it is common for some water to come out of the exhaust. It is usually just condensation. If it was coolant it would come out in a vapor form and look a lot like white smoke coming out of your tailpipe. The vapor is produced when the water goes into the combustion chamber of the engine and get burnt along with the fuel. Seek the help of a properly trained technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to help you determine if the radiator is the only thing that is leaking.

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

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

Spitting coolant out of reservoir

You need to have the cooling system checked for overheating by pressure testing the system and checking for fan operation. The overflow reservoir should not spit out coolant even if you ran it hard. The engine is either overheating from...

The engine stalls when I put the car in reverse, but if I go past reverse into drive there is not an issue.

Hi there. Usually when you shift into reverse and engage the brake it will cause the engine RPM to drop; as it's creating a load against the transmission and the engine. If the engine stalls, it may be caused by...

Vehicle dies when I give it gas.

The vehicle may have more than one problem causing this problem. These problems were from things like the coolant sensor giving false readings, engine control modules failing, throttle position sensors failing and the mass air flow sensors failing. All of...

Related articles

How to Replace a Broken Car Exhaust Hanger
Car exhaust systems include exhaust hangers that are fastened to the exhaust pipe to keep it quiet. Jack up your car to replace the exhaust hangers.
Where Is the O2 Sensor Located?
Oxygen Oxygen sensors O2 sensors will always be located in the exhaust system. Their function is to sense how much oxygen remains in the exhaust that is flowing out of the engine, and report that information to the vehicle’s engine...
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Water Pump
Common signs include coolant leaks at the front-center of the car, loose water pump pulley, overheating engine, and steam coming from the radiator.