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Anti-freeze leak from car

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  • [Corsa D] Anti-freeze leak from car

    I have a 2014, 1.4cc automatic corsa D which has completed 40k (mileage)
    Approximately, 4 months ago I noticed that the anti-freeze in the expansion tank had dropped to a very low level, so I topped it up accordingly. A couple of weeks later I noticed that the water level had dropped again so I took my car into a Vauxhall garage in order for them to rectify the problem. Unfortunately, following their tests and visual checks they couldn’t find the problem and I was told to keep monitoring the situation.
    The water level still continues to drop which means that I have to top up the anti-freeze every 400 miles. I have noticied that the water level remains constant whilst the car is stationary, therefor the problem only occurs whilst the car is being driven. Has anybody else experienced the same water leak problem as me or can anyone advice me as to what they think the problem could be?

    Any help or advice would be very much appreciated

  • #2
    Hi Welcome to the forum

    If vauxhall garage have carried out tests and cannot find a leak I can only make a couple of suggestions.

    1) Are you absolutely sure you are topping the expansion bottle up to the correct level. They normally have a maximum and minimum level marked on the side Even filled to the maximum level line most bottles will only be about half full or less. You would not be the first person to top up the expansion bottle to the brim. If you over fill the expansion bottle the coolant cannot 'expand' and the excess coolant will be discharged by a safety valve. The level will drop again to about its proper level but you might again make the mistake of topping it up. I realise you may not have done this but it needs to be mentioned. .

    2) The filler cap might be faulty and either not making a good seal on the bottle , or its safety overflow valve is releasing at too low a pressure . Unless this was part of the vauxhall testing and given the all clear you could try fitting a new cap.

    Incidentally you mentioned 'water level' Again I might be stating the obvious but dont top up with water. Use coolant of the correct type. Red 'OAT' type. Not the slightly cheaper blue stuff.
    Its sold either ready mixed , which is called 'coolant' or as 'antifreeze concentrate.' . Ready mixed coolant is used as it is. Antifreeze concentrate needs to be diluted with water to the correct strength. (typically 50/50 but it will say on the bottle)
    Last edited by Bugman; 05-07-2019, 09:03 AM.


    • #3
      Good morning

      The expansion water tank level goes down to the bottom which is almost empty then I top it up to the correct level on the tank.

      I am now in the process of ordering a new cap.

      Thank you for your prompt response and help



      • #4
        If the new cap does not cure the problem that amount of loss needs further investigation. I dont know what 'tests' were carried out by Vauxhall, or where they visually checked. Others may have suggestions here.

        A quick check you can carry out yourself is to look for any signs of coolant contamination on the oil dipstick . This would show up as whitish muck which is emulsified oil/water - literally mayonnaise. You could also unscrew the oil filler cap and check for signs of mayonnaise in and around the cap. Butt its not uncommon to find a small amount of 'mayonnaise here ,especially if you normally do short journeys .Its is caused by the normal water vapour produced when an engine is cold. But excessive amounts is not a good sign.

        In the mean time I would recommend trying to find a good independent Vauxhall specialist. If you need further checks or repairs these are likely to be cheaper, and often better than a main dealer. Independents tend to employ experienced vauxhall trained mechanics and fewer 'trainees' ,without main dealer overheads such as showrooms, sales staff etc.
        Last edited by Bugman; 05-07-2019, 01:59 PM.


        • #5
          If you haven't got any obvious leaks. On the coolant system in the engine bay . Or in the footwells in the car (heater matrix). I would try some K seal from euro carparts it's very good for sealing leaks . And you just shake the container and pour it into the expansion bottle. I know some people frown on this . But it's a cheap and easy fix that you can do yourself.


          • #6
            Use of radiator sealants is controversial amongst mechanics And there are some leaks it cannot seal, such as a split rubber hose, leaking water pump , etc.

            But as Restorer says if all these possibilities have been eliminated ,and the leak is so slight the source is elusive then a quality product such as K seal might be the solution.

            Its worth pointing out that its very unlikely that a Vauxhall Main dealer would use a radiator sealant. It suits their, and Vauxhalls, profits much better for you to pay for expensive repairs , possibly replacing expensive parts such as radiators, using expensive genuine parts to cure what might be a minor leak that K seal could cure very effectively,and cheaply. Even independent garages will prefer to carry out proper repairs,and would certainly want to thoroughly check for leaks, but might be more likely to suggest using a sealant if its appropriate. To be fair any attempt they make to cure a leak in this way leaves them vulnerable to complaint if the leak persists and the customer fails to keep an eye on the coolant level.

            Much of the criticism of sealants is historic. At one time they were simple products that could clog the cooling system. . Actually in the 'old days' people often put simple organic things into the radiator which would harden as it escaped as steam, blocking the leak.At least for a while. Ordinary mustard powder was quite effective. Even if you paid for a bottle of special radiator sealant some of these looked suspiciously like they used these organic ingredients any way. IIRC one of them appeared to contain wheatgerm.

            . I think the better products are now more high tech and claim to be suitable for modern cooling systems. They stay liquid unless they escape to air from a leak at which point they harden clogging the leak (As long as its the right sort of leak and not too large).


            • #7
              Hi both,

              Thanks for the replies

              Ive tried the new cap and it seems to be working so far so that might have been the problem

              thank you for your help