It can be alarming to find your car losing water and overheating. When the car overheats, it needs to be checked and repaired immediately since when it is left ignored, it can lead to a more serious problem. But what if it’s losing water too? What does it mean? If a car is losing water and overheating, it can be an indication that you have a blown head gasket, issues with your car’s cooling system, or radiator problems.
But first, you need to make sure that it is water that is leaking from under your car. Your car has many fluids so you need to determine what it is. If the fluid has a color such as green, yellow, red, or blue, then it means there are some issues that need to be checked. If there is no color in the fluid, then it might be just water. A small amount of water from your exhaust might just be condensation. But if your car seems to be losing a lot of water, you may have a blown gasket. To fix the problem, you will have to have your car checked and repaired. You may also need to replace the damaged components. Overheating can often lead to engine failure and other component failures. That is why when a car is losing water and overheating, you better address the problem immediately before it gets worse.
Car Losing Water and Overheating: Why is My Car Overheating and Losing Water?
The car can overheat due to a number of reasons. But whatever the reason may be, a car overheating should not be ignored. If you continue to drive your overheated car without attempting to fix the problem, it can severely damage the engine which can be very costly to repair. But a car losing water and overheating at the same time, it can be a disaster waiting to happen if left unrepaired. But what causes it? Why is it overheating and losing water?
To answer those questions, we need to be aware and understand what causes your car to overheat. Here are some of the most common causes of car overheating.
- Issues with the thermostat.
A problem with the thermostat is considered one of the most common reasons why a car overheats. The thermostat of a car is different from the thermostat you have at home. A car’s thermostat is a valve that controls or regulates the flow of the coolant. If the temperature of the engine increases, the valve will open and allow the coolant to flow the coolant through it to help reduce the engine temperature. If the engine is cold, the valve will be closed to block the coolant flow so the engine could warm up. A damaged thermostat tends to be stuck in a closed position. When this happens, it can result in the engine warming until it gets really hot which can cause your engine to overheat. It will overheat since the coolant won’t be able to pass through.
- Faulty water pump.
The water pump is one of the most important parts of the cooling system of a car. It is the one that controls the coolant flow throughout the system. The water pump is usually driven by a belt and can be found near the drive belts on the lower part of the engine. It is connected to the radiator’s lower hose.
The water pump can become damaged due to internal corrosion. The hose connection can also corrode, become loose, or suffer external damage. When this happens, the pump might stop working properly, preventing the coolant from moving throughout the system. When your car’s water pump becomes damaged, you may find your car losing water and overheating. If your engine overheats because of this problem, you will have to repair or replace your water pump. If not, your engine won’t be able to function.
- Blown head gasket.
When you notice your car losing water and overheating, it might be an indication that you have a blown head gasket. The head gasket can affect how the engine functions and how well it performs. It is a seal that separates the engine block of the car from the cylinder head. One of the symptoms of a blown head gasket is leaks. If you fail to notice it and you’ve been driving for a while, it can cause the fluid level to drop which can cause overheating.
A blown head gasket is a problem that should never be ignored. When it becomes damaged, it loses its ability to seal and won’t be able to keep the coolant and the engine oil separate. This is very dangerous since it can result in total engine failure. Engine failure is known to cost thousands of dollars to repair. If you think your car is losing water and overheating, have it checked and repaired right away.
- Faulty radiator.
The radiator’s task is to cool down the engine coolant when it passes through. It means that without a working radiator, the engine won’t be able maintain its optimal operating temperature. The radiator is susceptible to damage since it is exposed to extreme temperatures.
One of the leading causes of a damaged radiator is corrosion. When this happens, it can leak water or coolant. Its tubes or hoses can also weaken as it ages as well as the sealing gasket between the radiator and the tank. When these components become damaged, they can cause clogging and fluid leaks. A faulty radiator can lead to overheating since it won’t be able to cool down the fluid or get rid of the heat from the rest of the cooling system.
Aside from the faulty hoses connected to the radiator causing leaks that lead to your car losing water and overheating, another part of the radiator that can cause the problem is the radiator fan. The radiator fan can stop functioning properly due to unstable connection or a damaged fan blade. When this happens, it can prevent the radiator from properly reducing the temperature of the coolant.
A faulty radiator cap may also be the reason why your car is overheating. It may seem small but the radiator cap is what creates a tight seal that maintains the cooling system at the right pressure since the radiator is pressurized. If it becomes faulty and can no longer seal properly, it may allow the coolant to escape which can lead to overheating.
- Issues with the expansion tank.
Cars are built with an expansion tank to help supply coolant to the radiator. You may see it as the plastic container beside your engine. The expansion tank is often connected to the car’s radiator by a rubber hose that gets or receives coolant to and from the radiator when the engine cools down or heats up. As the car and its components age, the plastic material of the expansion tank can weaken since it is constantly exposed to extreme temperature changes. It might crack or leak and allow the coolant to escape. When this happens, it can cause your car to overheat.
There are also times that your car is overheating but you won’t see any leak. This problem can be caused by:
- Air in the cooling system.
Small inlets can develop over time even though the coolant passage is a closed system. The small inlet can allow the air to seep in which can cause pockets of unnecessary gas. When these pockets of air accumulate, it can block the coolant flow and can also cause the system to assume that the coolant level is still high when in reality, there might not be enough fluid to keep the car cool. This can happen since the air pockets will push the coolant upwards in the reservoir and simulate the appropriate level needed for sufficient cooling. When this happens, it can result in your car overheating. You will have to bleed your car’s cooling system of air to get rid of the problem.
- Low oil level.
The oil is used to lubricate and cool the engine’s moving parts. Due to sealing issues within the cylinders or gasket leaks, this oil can seep through some areas within the system where it shouldn’t be. It could also be burned during the combustion process which can cause bluish smoke to come out of your tailpipe. If this happens and the system is lacking oil, it will increase the friction and heat within the system.
The heat energy will build up and can exceed the cooling system’s capacity. If the problem remained unnoticed, since you won’t really find any visible leak, it can cause severe problems. The pistons may seize, the engine may weld itself together, or may blow because of extreme heat. Make it a habit to check your oil regularly. If something is off or does not make sense, have it checked or inspected immediately.
Driving habits and engine operating conditions.
Coolant loss is usually the reason why the car overheats. Although coolant loss is often the effect of fluid leaks, it may also occur due to some specific driving patterns and engine operating conditions. The coolant level may drop in your system when you often drive through steep hills, when your car frequently tow heavy loads or cargo, deal with slow-moving traffic every day, or when you use your car’s air conditioning when idling when the surrounding temperature is high.
Car Losing Water and Overheating: Why Does My Car Keep Losing Water?
A car losing water and overheating can be caused by a number of issues. It can lose water and overheat due to the problems listed above. But there are also some people who are concerned why their car keeps on losing water, why they see puddles of fluid underneath their car.
When you see a puddle of liquid under your car, do not quickly assume that it is water. To make sure that it is indeed water, you need to inspect it. It can be hard to identify what fluid it is against a concrete background since a car has a number of different fluids. To identify it, you just need to put a white cardboard or a sheet of paper under the leak.
If the fluid has no color, then it must be water. But if it has, then it means that there is a problem. If the color is green, orange, blue-green, or pink, it may be coolant. Coolant manufacturers usually use bright-colored dyes so people can easily identify them and differentiate them from other automotive fluids. The coolant also has a watery consistency and has a sweet smell.
Light brown to black colored fluid is engine oil. If the oil is old, it will have a darker brown or black color. You will usually see the leak directly under the location of your engine. Clear, brown or red fluid might be the power steering fluid. When it gets old, it will turn brownish. You will usually see it leak near the car’s front, left side. Red or brown fluid is the transmission fluid. It sometimes looks like the engine oil. Its leak usually appears on the transmission or the lines going to the cooler or radiator. If the fluid has a transparent yellow to brown color, it must be the brake fluid. It will have a very slippery or slick appearance.
If you see a puddle of clear water under your car, it might be just a condensation caused by the running air conditioner. Leaks can also be caused by a cracked windshield wiper fluid reservoir. It can leak water since water can get into the windshield wiper fluid and tends to freeze afterward. It can cause the reservoir to crack and leak fluid on the surface.
However, if there is a great deal of water leaking under your car, and you notice a thick, excessive smoke coming out of your tailpipe, then you may have blown your head gasket. You also need to remember that the coolant is a combination of water and antifreeze. If you find your car losing water and overheating, do not ignore it. Have it checked immediately since it can lead to more serious and irreversible problems.