How to Fix a Jeep Leaking Coolant? [8 Simple Steps]


How to Fix a Jeep Leaking Coolant?

Coolant, or refrigerant, is an ethylene glycol formula that allows your car to run smoothly without overheating. It enables your vehicle to run correctly without anything working too hard, while simultaneously adding conditioning, anti-wear, anti-corrosive, and anti-rust properties to the most integral parts of your car. If your jeep is leaking coolant, it should be fixed as soon as possible.

How to Fix a Jeep Leaking Coolant?

How to fix a jeep leaking coolant? If you think that your Jeep is leaking refrigerant, you can follow these steps to try to fix it yourself:

  • Check the warning signs of bright, colorful stains on the ground.
  • Test drive your vehicle a short distance to examine it on level ground.
  • Allow everything to cool moderately.
  • Examine under the hood. You should immediately recognize where the brightly-colored coolant is seeping from.

This could require a small cap or piece to fix completely, and you may need closer examination by a professional to prevent further damage to the engine.

Use this guide to understand the reasons why coolant matters to your Jeep, the warning signs that indicate the problem is coolant leakage, and the steps to take in remedying that issue.

coolant and radiator photos  Jeep Wrangler YJ

Signs That Indicate Your Coolant is Leaking

Master Mechanic explains some of the signs you can look for in your coolant is leaking in its blog “Common Signs Your Car has a Coolant Leak.” If you’re uncertain of what to look for regarding your coolant, the following list tells the warning signs to look for:

  • Your Coolant Warning Light is on – There is a specific light that will appear if your refrigerant is experiencing issues. It will look like a thermometer with lines out to the side (indicating the temperatures) and ripples of water below as the coolant image. This is a clear indication that your coolant is not working correctly.
  • Puddles Below Your Jeep – If you notice that there are stains on the ground where you park, it could be the coolant leaking. Be sure that it isn’t the oil leaking (which will have a gasoline smell and rainbow hue in the sunlight.) If it is coolant, it will be a purple, orange, pink, or lime green puddle underneath your car.
  • Look at the Radiator – Another technique if the signs aren’t as visible is to look at the radiator and examine it for any signs of rust or dark spots. If the radiator is not evenly colored, it could mean that the coolant is not doing what it is supposed to be doing for the car – eliminating rust, overheating, corrosion, and fire hazards. If the refrigerant is leaking, it may fall on the radiator or hot engine and scorch, leaving a burnt mark that could reveal leaking coolant.
  • Use Your Sense of Smell – If you smell a sweet and strange odor when your car is turned off, this could be a coolant leak.
  • The Car is Overheating – This is most likely an issue with the cooling system.
radiator coolant leak in a Jeep

Steps to Test Your Jeep for a Coolant Leak

Once you’ve determined that a coolant leak is the problem, the steps to fix your Jeep’s coolant leak will go as follows:

  1. To discover the source of the leak, drive your car for a small duration, just enough to warm it up slightly, and then park it on a concrete area where you can examine the ground quickly. Park at a level elevation and allow your car to rest.
  2. Turn off your car and give it 5-15 minutes to cool off. A vehicle at full heat will be scorching hot, so use caution while handling the interior of the hood and consider using gloves for protection.
  3. Examine the entire car using the warning signs listed above. Move the car slightly forward to see if any stains are on the ground.  You are looking for the source of the leak, so open the hood and take a look at the radiator.
  4. Now within the hood, look at the radiator cap and coolant cap. Again, be careful to mind the heat of your vehicle and not burn yourself.
  5. Check the coolant tank itself. It will often have a symbol like the ocean waves warning light of a coolant warning. You are looking at the tank to see if it appears full or drained. The indicator will be on the opaque plastic tank. If your coolant is below the minimum mark, it’s probably a leak.
  6. Check all hoses with caution, moving your hand down the tube to see if it is leaking somewhere near the clamp.
  7. If the smell is overpowering, the leak could be inside of the vehicle’s heater. Some indications that it is an internal issue with the heater are if the Jeep’s carpets are wet or windows are fogging up often. The heater is deep within the car’s paneling, so this will require a professional to take apart.
  8. If nothing appears to be leaking near the engine, it could be coming from somewhere lower that is out of reach and requires the engine to be removed. If the leak’s source is not apparent at this point, you should consider taking it to a professional mechanic or your local Jeep Dealership, especially if it is still under warranty.

It should be quite obvious where the leak is coming from, so if you don’t see green liquid dripping from somewhere, it’s probably a deeper problem that requires an expert-eye.

coolant and radiator photos Jeep Wrangler YJ

Once You Spot the Leakage Source

If you do immediately see where the neon-colored liquid is leaking from, you can take that failing part off and replace it with a new piece. “How to Fix a Coolant Leak” from 2CarPros.com is a great guide for fixing your own coolant leak, and some of the ways you can do so are detailed below.

Some possible steps to take once the leak source is detected are:

  • The leakage is often coming from a hose that is not properly screwed in. Sometimes, the fix is as simple as tightening the hose or cap.
  • If the radiator hose is what’s leaking, you will need to order a replacement hose clamp for your specific Jeep model/size.
  • If you see a tear in the radiator hose, you need to take it into the shop immediately as this is a more significant problem than the coolant leakage. The radiator allows the coolant to flow, and you will need to take it to a professional to avoid damaging the engine.
  • If you check your tank and the coolant is full, it could be that it’s leaking because it’s overflowing. The balance needs to be 50/50 water and antifreeze, so if it’s seeping over the reservoir tank, remove some of the coolant and add a small amount of water to thin it slightly.
  • Take the lower hose off of the valve to drain the remaining coolant into a bucket below your car’s hood. Once you take off the hose clamp, check to see if it is damaged. If your hose clamp is damaged, this could be the root of your coolant leak-issues. Find an auto-part or Jeep-repair shop near you and purchase a replacement hose clamp.

In summary, it will often be as simple as a hose tightening, cap replacement, hose replacement, or radiator tear. Order the piece that is broken – but make sure to find the part that fits your exact Jeep model. If it’s anything beyond a simple cap replacement, you should consider seeking professional help from your local mechanic.

drain radiator coolant into a bucket from a Jeep

Reasons Why Coolant Is Vital for Your Jeep

You may be under the impression that coolant is a luxury attached to the air conditioning unit and is not essential to your Jeep’s functionality. However, coolant is not a mere luxury and is critical to the other parts of your vehicle as well.

An adequately working coolant system without leaks will serve to:

  • Transfer heat around the engine and distribute that heat to lower the temperature inside of your vehicle.
  • Lower the boiling point, which allows your Jeep to run more efficiently.
  • Maintain your engine and allow it to last for a longer duration by preventing damage and flammable dangers in overheating.
  • Reduce the risk that your vehicle could experience corrosion or fire.
  • Lower your maintenance expenses and reduce auto-repairs.
radiator leaking coolant in a Jeep Wrangler YJ

Final Advice on Coolant Repairs

If you are uncertain, don’t risk damaging your Jeep or worsening the issue. Take it to a professional, and they will flush out the old coolant to clean the container correctly and make room for the fresh coolant. The old coolant that is left in the system can also cause issues by increasing acidity in the vehicle and causing further leaks.

Because of the financial risks, don’t do more damage if you don’t know how to fix your Jeep. It’s not worth the risk and will only cost you more in the long run.

coolant and radiator photos Jeep Wrangler YJ

Leaking Coolant in a Jeep

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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