Last Updated on: February 10, 2024
Car owners have always complained about coolant loss, with some saying their current coolant is reducing at a faster rate than the last time. And knowing the effects of driving a car with little or low coolant levels has left many drivers worried about the cost of repairing their cars.
Have you ever wondered how much coolant loss is normal? Well, you’re not alone; after all, coolant helps lower the temperature of the car engine. Low coolant levels can result in overheating of the car engine.
What Is the Function of the Coolant?
For your car to move, the fuel must be combusted, resulting in the production of heat that can be easily converted to mechanical energy. During the combustion process, a huge amount of heat is produced; therefore, you need a reliable cooling system for your car to function properly.
But if the cooling system malfunctions, you may end up with engine problems; fortunately, we have coolants.
Coolant is a unique liquid normally added to the engine to keep the radiator liquid below boiling point in summer and prevent it from freezing in winter. So if you want to know how much coolant loss is normal, please read on…
How Much Coolant Loss Is Normal?
Coolant loss is normal, thanks to this liquid evaporating while cooling the engine, but if your car has lost all its coolant, then that is not normal. After all, there are several reasons why your car is losing coolant at a very fast rate.
Generally, if it drops for about 0.25% of coolant every four to six months, which accumulates to two to three ounces, you have nothing to worry about.
Therefore, coolant loss is normal and meant to be healthy for the car, but there are several reasons why the coolant level can drop at a very fast rate. And in most cases, the issue may be with the car itself and not the coolant chamber.
Coolant loss can happen even without any leakage; remember, the coolant system is not fully seal-proof, thanks to the overflow reservoir. It tends to disappear as steam due to heating or high temperature.
But as your car’s engine ages, the evaporation rate increases, and it may result in the loss of more coolant. Therefore, you should always regularly keep refilling the coolant with the right liquid.
The Causes of Coolant Loss
1. Worn Out Head Gasket
Generally, the coolant levels and head gasket are interrelated. This means that your car’s head gasket suffers when the car has insufficient coolant. Plus, the coolant can disappear quickly when the head gasket is worn out.
If the engine has a worn-out gasket, then the coolant can get into the combustion chamber and damage the cylinder head or engine block.
You may notice some white fumes coming from your car’s engine experiencing a coolant leak.
2. Faulty Radiator Cap
The primary goal of the radiator cap is to allow optimal coolant flow rate by maintaining the reservoir pressure and sufficient coolant level.
Therefore, with a faulty radiator cap, the pressure will reduce, resulting in the coolant flowing at a fast rate resulting in low coolant levels.
Therefore, it’s crucial that you always inspect the radiator cap and replace it once every 2 to 3 years. You should also inspect it for rubber damages or rusting.
3. Damaged Radiator
Generally, the radiator carries the coolant or water that’s supposed to help cool the engine when your vehicle is in motion. Therefore, if the radiator hoses have corroded or have holes, then the coolant level will drop at a very fast rate.
Radiators with water tend to corrode faster, resulting in your car losing coolant quickly.
4. A Faulty Cooling System
Generally, the car’s cooling system is made up of a wide range of parts that can cause coolant leakages. Some of these parts include the fan, thermostat, and pump. The fan guarantees that the hot liquid cools before getting back to the engine and help lower its temperature.
The pump helps pump the cooled liquid from the radiator to the engine through the radiator hose pipes. Plus, the thermostat between the radiator and engine allows the cooling water to easily flow between these two parts. Therefore, any issue with these parts can result in coolant leakage.
Pro Auto Thought: One easy way of knowing if your coolant or any of your car’s internal cooling systems is going bust is by checking your temperature gauge. This often taken-for-granted utility could literally save you and your vehicle from expensive repairs — Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up And Down While Driving.
Taking Care of a Vehicle Losing Coolant Without or With Leaks
After finding out how much coolant loss is normal, the next step is determining the cause of the problem. If you experience the above problems, then the first thing you should do is run a diagnostic test on the car and determine the cause of the problem.
This test will help you answer a number of questions while determining why the engine coolant level has been reduced and if there is a problem with the coolant system. So if you want to learn how to troubleshoot this problem, please read on:
1. Determine How Much Coolant Should Be In Your System
First and foremost, you should open the hood of the car and confirm if the antifreeze or coolant level is right below the rubber. Remember, overfilling it can result in leakages.
2. Is the Gasket in Perfect Shape?
A worn-out gasket head is not probably tight enough; therefore, coolant loss can be visible even with leakages.
3. Examine the Radiator Pipes
If any of the hoses or the radiator itself is worn out, you may lose car coolant at a very fast rate.
4. Are There Cracks on Your Engine?
Cracks on the engine can result in coolant loss; in fact, it can even result in combustion issues resulting in the engine overheating.
5. After Transporting a Heavy Load, Have You Noticed Engine Coolant Leaks Below Your Vehicle?
If you notice coolant spillage on the ground after transporting a heavy load, you should seek a technician’s help. After all, ignoring the issue can result in you spending thousands of dollars on a new engine system.
Pro Auto Thought: You might be thinking if water could be used as an alternative coolant. Read this post to find out — Can You Use Water As Coolant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Normal to Have a Coolant Leak?
No, any coolant leak can be disastrous in the long run. A coolant leak is one of the key signs of a cooling system that has malfunctioned, and it can end up costing you a lot of cash if you ignore it and keep increasing the coolant.
Can Your Car Lose Coolant Without a Leak?
Yes, the coolant level can drop even without a leak, and when this happens, we consider it normal. The coolant’s main work is lowering the engine’s temperature; therefore, you’ll lose some of this liquid through evaporation at a rate of about 3 to 6 ounces per year.
How Often Should I Top Up the Coolant in My Car?
Since you lose between 3 to 6 ounces every year, it’s always a good idea to check the engine coolant level twice per year, right before winter and summer. And if the level has dropped below the container’s guide marks, you should top it up. So the number of times you have to top up will vary with the condition of your car.
The coolant is one of the most crucial liquids in your vehicle that helps keep your car moving; when its level drops, your engine may end up overheating. Therefore, it’s crucial that you monitor the car’s coolant levels. Remember, it’s normal for your car to lose some coolant, but at a rate of about 0.25% every 3 to 6 months, anything more means that your car has a problem.