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How to Troubleshoot the Coolant System in a Kia Sorento

Updated March 23, 2017

A full reservoir of coolant usually lasts about a year, so if your Kia Sorento starts going through its coolant in a week or even a day, you have a leak. Engine coolant leaks can be dangerous because your Kia needs coolant to maintain a safe temperature in its engine and prevent overheating. Diagnosing an engine coolant leak can be tricky because leaks aren't always visible. Look for the source of the leak and take your Sorento to a Kia dealership or mechanic as soon as you notice a problem.

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  1. Look under your Kia Sorento after it has been parked for a few hours to see if there is a puddle of coolant on the ground underneath the engine. Some external leaks spill out of your car's coolant system and onto the pavement. You might need to back up your car to check the ground completely. A leak of this nature could also present itself as a trail of liquid that follows your car's path. Look behind your Sorento immediately after parking to see if there is any coolant on the ground.

  2. Open your car's bonnet and look inside the engine compartment for visible leaks. Look at the hoses and belts leading away from your coolant reservoir, which is the plastic compartment into which you pour coolant, and toward your engine. Check for cracks or holes. You might be able to see an external leak if your coolant is escaping through a visible part of your coolant system.

  3. Put coolant into your reservoir in your engine compartment and examine the reservoir for leaks. If there is a crack or hole in the reservoir, you will see coolant begin to seep out. This is an external coolant leak.

  4. Pull out your oil dipstick and examine your oil for coolant content. If there is coolant in your oil compartment, you have an internal leak in which the coolant is leaking into the oil.

  5. Examine your car's exhaust pipe after you start your engine and let it run for a few moments. If you see smoke coming out of your pipe, your coolant might be leaking into your exhaust system and exiting through the pipe.

  6. Take your car to a Kia dealership for service or to a mechanic. He will be able to determine the source of your leak. If you can't see a leak, it may be internal. He will tell you whether your water pump or intake manifold gasket is leaking, or if there is a problem with another part. Dealers sometimes charge fees, which are usually about £65, to diagnose your car. Be prepared to pay for an expensive diagnostic evaluation and mechanical repairs.

  7. Tip

    Most external leaks are visible. But if your coolant is leaking onto your engine, it can evaporate immediately because of the engine's heat, and you might not ever see liquid on the ground or in your engine compartment. Take your car to a mechanic to see if you have this type of external leak.


    Coolant leaks can cause your engine to overheat, which can cause damage to your radiator, catalytic converter and other engine parts. Newer model engine parts are usually made of aluminium, because it's a lightweight metal. Aluminium also distorts and bends easily at high temperatures. Take your car to your mechanic as soon as you suspect a coolant leak, or if your car is consistently overheating. The sooner you fix the problem, the less damage your engine will incur.

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About the Author

Talia Kennedy

Talia Kennedy has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in "The New York Times," "San Francisco Chronicle" and "The Sacramento Bee," among others. Kennedy has a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

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