A radiator water leak, or more properly, coolant leak, is a minor problem that can cause major damage. Repairing a radiator leak is important to prevent further damage that can be difficult and expensive to repair.
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Radiators leak for a number of reasons, but primarily due to internal corrosion or physical damage. As a radiator corrodes, the normal vibration and movement that a radiator experiences can cause a leak. Physical damage from a collision can easily rupture the thin metal used in the radiator.
A leaking radiator can cause a number of problems for an engine. The resulting low level of coolant may cause an engine to overheat which can result in a cracked head, blown head gasket or other internal engine problems. A low level of coolant may also cause water pump failure as the pump is lubricated by the coolant.
Small leaks in a radiator may be fixed by adding a radiator leak sealant to the coolant. However, these additive sealants often only result in a temporary fix. Small radiator leaks can be permanently fixed by brazing, soldering, or the use of an epoxy glue designed for this purpose. It is often best to replace radiators that have major damage or severe corrosion.
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