Does coolant evaporate? Why do i need to refill my engine coolant at intervals without noticing any leaks?
Engine coolant, also referred to as engine antifreeze, is an essential part of the engine system that helps keep the engine in perfect shape. Regardless of the fact that you may not notice fluid leakage, the coolant may be lost. Therefore, is it possible that the Coolant evaporates eventually? We took the liberty to study this phenomenon, and the following are our findings.
In a situation where the engine coolant is exposed to air, in time, it dissipates slowly. The engine coolant will be intact if it is in an air-tight system.
One might be bothered as to why you always need to fill up the engine coolant at intervals with the absence of leakage. Does coolant evaporate? Let’s get to know more.
Does Coolant Evaporate?
Yes, coolant evaporates when left open to the atmosphere. Water in the coolant will evaporate due to the very high temperature in the engine. However, it does not evaporate in the same sense like water as it is a composition of several chemicals in different proportions.
The overflow reservoir will cause an opening at a particular edge of the antifreeze. Therefore, the reservoir antifreeze will flow out from there. This situation may risk engine breakdown because it will get overheated.
Hence, there will be lots of repairs. Another factor that could result in overheating is when the antifreeze in use is not proper for the vehicle, or when you are driving a vehicle that has low antifreeze reserved.
Other causes of overheating are problematic engine parts, weather conditions, the current state of the car and the driver.
Does Coolant Evaporate if It’s Left Open?
We can’t determine the speed of evaporation of the ethylene glycol because we are not professionals in that field. But we know that water will dissipate when the top is left for the composition to breathe. The car’s pressurized cooling system is the reason behind this. Overheating may happen with little pressure because the cooling system will not function properly. Evaporation may also occur in the radiator as well.
Does Coolant Evaporate in Hot Weather?
When the coolant dissipates, it leaves behind some kind of white stain from frost. When the humidity level is lower than 50%, it takes about 72 hours. Some of the factors that will result in dissipation of the antifreeze after a certain period of time includes, Disruption of the flow of antifreeze, malfunctioning engine equipment and normal steaming process. Other lesser possible factors could be a damaged hose, leak, and crack in the radiator. Always make sure that your engine is cooled properly.
It is very important to note that the engine has to be turned off before the introduction of more Coolant into the reservoir. Pressure on the system leads to burns. Also, evaporation of Coolant may be related to high-temperature weather.
Does Coolant Evaporate in Cold Weather?
Low degree of temperature may hinder the performance of your car. The reason behind this is that some of the components within the coolant decrease. Therefore, the antifreeze is usually low wherever the weather is very cold.
Does Coolant evaporate on the ground?
If the antifreeze is concealed in the ground, there are chances that it will evaporate, and oil residue might be noticed afterwards.
How Fast Does Coolant Evaporate?
If the state of the car deteriorates over time, then the antifreeze will evaporate faster than usual. With normal estimation, when the engine is functional for a year straight, the antifreeze level is reduced to 0.25 after 4 months. This is dependent of the working state of the engine. Therefore, an inch a year is equal to a quarter of 0.25 inches.
The water component steams at a high temperature, and the antifreeze also dissipates. So, it’s best to clean your radiator after a few years.
Also Read: Coolant Reservoir (Functions, Symptoms, Leak & Repair)
Why Does My Coolant Keep Disappearing?
When there is a situation of a large leak in the car system, one may notice bright-coloured splashes on the floor where the vehicle is usually parked. Some usual origins of leakages in the antifreeze may include:
- Radiator cap damage
- Mutilated hoses or tubes
- Fractured reservoir
- Holes in the radiator
- Broken or loose hose clamps or tube ends.
However, mechanics and very informed vehicle owners may fix this leakage issue, but it may not be that easy for most vehicle owners. Therefore, professional help will be required.
There are No obvious leaks
The cooling system parts may have very little holes and cracks. This is where most of the small leakages come from. In a supposed sealed system, antifreeze solutions pass through the engine block and break free through little spaces after they have been heated and are in the form of steam.
You may use a coolant pressure tester or radiator to locate where there are leakages in the antifreeze.
Coolant lost from the Reservoir
Due to expansion as a result of high temperature from the engine, the antifreeze moved from the radiator to the overflow tank. Due to the fact that the Coolant that enters into the tank is hot, it gradually melts the plastic, thereby leading to little cracks on the cap of the reservoir. The hot liquid steams out of these little cracks because the pressure of the vapor of the antifreeze grows due to heat.
Damage of Head Gasket
A factor worthy of note that could also bring about evaporating of antifreeze, is a leakage within the engine (in the head gasket). A malfunctioning head gasket will let the antifreeze solution enter into the combustion chamber of the engine.
Then, the solution is burnt and sent out through the engine exhaust. The following are a few signs that your head gasket is damaged:
- Ejection of white smoke through the tailpipe
- Liquid leakage through the tailpipe
- Engine overheat
- Foaming antifreeze liquid inside the radiator or even the reservoir
- Change in engine oil color
- Lower engine power
It is very costly to resolve the issue of a damaged head gasket. Solving this problem always involved the help of a specialist and professional car equipment. When these symptoms are noticed, it is advised to take the car for fixing.
In a situation where you are confident in your knowledge regarding the issue, and equipped with the right tools, you can try fixing the problem yourself.
How to Tell if Your Coolant Is Leaking?
When one notices that the Coolant is gradually vanishing from the radiator, one might be led to think that the Coolant is evaporating. Your antifreeze is not supposed to reduce at a ridiculous rate, even though it should reduce from time to time due to use. When it reduces at a substantial rate, it means that there might be leakage.
The following are symptoms of coolant leakage:
The Scent of Sweet aroma
Coolant can be deadly due to its nice smell. This could lead to ingestion and eventual death in animals and children. Through this smell, you can determine whether there is a leakage. So, anytime you perceive an odd pleasant smell in your car, there should be a leakage. This odour can be noticed inside and under your vehicle. It is not proper for you to perceive the Coolant. Therefore, there is a problem anytime you smell it.
This means the Coolant is evaporating from the radiator to the under of your vehicle or inside the engine. While driving, the air might blow the smell into the car through the cooling system.
Colorful puddle Under your Car
Brightly coloured foamy substances may be noticed under your car. Certain liquids in the vehicle can be distinguished by color. This act by the producers is very intentional. This way, you can easily know the liquid that is leaking. The transmission liquid is red in colour, and the oil is black in colour. Coolant comes in different colors ranging from Orange, pink, blue-green, and linen green. Another distinctive nature of coolant fluid is that it glitters under a light.
Whenever you notice a fluid of about the same color as these aforementioned colors under your vehicle, on the tubes that connect the radiator to the engine or on your radiator cap, check your Coolant. It is an anomaly to notice this fluid elsewhere apart from inside the radiator.
Vehicle Engine freezing/overheating
If your engine constantly suffers overheating, it is a sign of leakage. Also, only a container with antifreeze in it can cool your engine. In a case where it is just a bottle of Coolant, this will aid in keeping your engine from getting frozen during the winter.
You can read the status of your engine through the temperature gauge, to be sure your engine is not freezing.
If your engine does not generate enough heat, the meter won’t move. This implies that the temperature of the water is very cold, it could also happen the other way round as it might also generate too much heat. In other words, this means that the engine can’t cool down as the water is frozen. And if actually the water is frozen, it implies the Coolant is not there or did not work.
Overheating could also be determined through the temperature gauge. Whenever the meter shows red, it signifies overheating. When this happens, smoke might come out from inside the engine. You should stop the car and cool the engine down when this is noticed because the vehicle could catch fire. Your engine will certainly freeze or overheat if the Coolant is leaking.
Rapid Loss of Antifreeze
There is a semi-transparent container located in a chamber in the hood of your vehicle. This is the location that the Coolant and water travel to. Due to the fact that it is almost transparent, you can ascertain the water level.
An indication on the container states the appropriate quantity that should be inside the container at a given time to aid proper functioning (cooling of the engine). You are to note how fast the Coolant and water sink when they are being poured into the container. In a situation where the car is off and the liquid doesn’t remain on top of the marked line, but continues going down, this implies leakage problem. When the liquid keeps rising, then there is no leakage. When the vehicle isn’t functional, then it stays still.
In a situation where the vehicle is in use, you will merely notice the liquid reduce by a little quantity.
When you are required to always fill the tank every short period of time, this also points toward leakage.
Also Read: Coolant Reservoir Empty (Causes & Fix)
How to Look for an Antifreeze Leak
1. Let the car idle
Leave the vehicle on and step down. Focusing on the center of the vehicle, search for a continuous drip. If your finding is affirmative, the radiator should be where the leakage is located.
2. Check the reservoir
Turn the vehicle operational and leave the hood open. Pay close attention to the semi-transparent tank and leave the cap on. You may get burnt if you touch the cap, because the engine gets heated up whenever it is functional.
The water within is also very hot and could potentially cause harm. So, it is best to pay close attention to the liquid level. If the reduction level is drastic when the vehicle is functional, then there is definitely a leakage. When you check the hoses or cap and notice anything dripping, then that hose or cap is damaged. Dyes could be used to trace leaks too.
Also Read: Car Leaking Antifreeze When Parked (Causes & Fixes)
Frequently Asked Questions – Does Coolant evaporate?
How long does it take for Coolant to evaporate?
Over time, the level of the evaporation of the coolant increase. When the system is very functional for 4 months, the level of the antifreeze decreases by 0.25%.
Can Coolant get low without a leak?
You might end up losing the antifreeze even though their is very slow leakage, most of the time. You may notice a particular leaking spot when the cooling system is put under pressure. So, when the engine is cold, you may drive a little to warm it up.
How often should Coolant be topped up?
It is ideal to examine your antifreeze about twice annually before winter and summer. Coolant should be refilled when the level reduces below the marked area. This recommendation depends on the producers of the vehicle.
Why is my car losing Coolant but not overheating?
This could be as a result of external antifreeze leak, internal antifreeze leak or even radiator cap leakage. It is best to learn how to examine your Coolant and the next step to take, because the longer the problem is ignored, the costlier it will be to fix it.
Does coolant level drop in a cold weather?
The antifreeze gauge could be affected by low temperature, because the particles within the antifreeze shrink in cold weather. Therefore, the antifreeze might be triggered after a succession of cold weathered days. You need not bother yourself if the light goes off just after warming the engine.
Conclusion – Does Coolant evaporate?
The Coolant won’t evaporate if it stays in a contained cooling system. The antifreeze dissipates due to gaps developed by the cooling system. This is perfectly normal.
In order to avoid issues in the cooling system, it is best to always check the level of the antifreeze.
We hope this article has been helpful in educating you, dear reader. Thanks for taking the time to go through it.