Effects of Low Coolant in Your Car
Driving with low coolant can damage certain parts of your vehicle, which could require major repairs. Here are some things that can happen if you drive with low coolant.
Your engine could overheat.
Coolant helps pull heat away from the engine. So, without enough coolant, the engine could overheat or seize up. Continued use of an overheated engine could lead to permanent damage, such as pistons welding to the cylinders.
You could blow a head gasket.
If you’ve ever said, “I am about to blow a gasket,” to describe your mood — you know that this happening to your engine is bad news! Low coolant can sometimes cause a head gasket on your engine block to blow. If this happens, you may notice smoke emitting from the engine or tailpipe, a loss of power, engine knocking sounds, or decreased efficiency.
Your car could shut off.
Some cars have a safety system in place to automatically shut the engine off before it suffers significant damage — which can happen due to low coolant. While this may help save you from extensive repairs stemming from an overheated engine, it can be very dangerous depending on where you are driving when the engine shuts off.
Low Coolant Symptoms
Low coolant symptoms can vary depending on how low your vehicle is on antifreeze. Typically, low coolant will trigger your antifreeze light. Some vehicles might display a “Check Coolant” message on the dashboard. If your coolant light is on, you may notice some of these oddities.
The high-temperature gauge is near or in the red.
One tell-tale sign of low coolant is the high-temperature gauge on the dashboard. This gauge is designed to tell you when the engine is getting too hot. Most often, the gauge should stay near the center of the H and C symbols. If the gauge is reading close to the H, shut your engine down and have it towed to Highway Auto Care Rockhampton for repairs.
Your Coolant Level Sensor is faulty.
Sometimes, an illuminated coolant light may be due to a faulty coolant level sensor. If this sensor malfunctions, it could be causing the coolant light to turn on even if you don’t have low antifreeze levels.
Causes of Coolant Loss
Unlike engine oil, which can be changed as frequently as 10,000-20,000 km, you normally don’t have to check and replace coolant as often as that but it should be changed less than 2 years. In fact, since coolant works within a closed system, it shouldn’t become low unless there’s a leak, in which case you should visit your local car care experts for radiator services and repairs. There are a few common ways in which coolant fluid can leak: