My car recently would heat up extremely quickly and begin smoking, the reservoir for coolant was low so I refilled(was accidentally overfilled). That did not help so I refilled the radiator itself with coolant. That also had no observable effect. I noticed while refilling that it would leak from under the car the color of the coolant. I let it sit for a day to see if it was a continuous leak and if it would be empty the next day. The next day I didn't notice any indication it had leaked (possible since it's been raining) beneath the car and saw no active leaking. Reservoir was still filled (overfilled). I added some water to the radiator to see what would happen, and it again began leaking coolant (not water) from the bottom of the car again.

Also if the solution requires purchasing something is it safe to use to drive to the store (3 or 4 miles) to get the supplies and just keep dumping water on the engine to make sure it doesn't warm up?

Thank you for reading!

  • 2
    So what's the question? The car is leaking coolant somewhere, so you'll have to find where to fix it. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 9:08
  • If you can ask a couple of specific questions I think your question might get a little bit more attention. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 16:38
  • You need to give a bit more info, can be many things... The smoke for example has a visible origin? Would leak from under the car but where (if theres a drip you can follow it to the origin)? Are you sure you didnt just spill some while refilling? Did you follow the hoses looking for a leak? Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


I had a similar problem with my 2005 Chevrolet Celta a couple years ago and it was caused by a blown water pump. The car turned off suddenly right as I was pulling into a gas station. The car stated again to drive the next 50 meters to park properly but the coolant warning light turned on. In the occasion the mechanic also changed the thermostat since it could be the culprit (and it was not that expensive anyway). I would not advise to drive the car like that since this is equivalent to drive without coolant. Since the store is 3 or 4 miles away, just take a walk or a cab ride, both will be way cheaper than driving the car like that. While on your case it could be a broken water pump, check what is leaking coolant, it could be just a hose or a clip and this is much easier to fix.


I had a similar problem & here's what I learned.

The leak is small so it will not come back in one day.

The coolant can get so hot that it may bubble out the overflow bottle. You will hear it & may see steam & then temp will rise. Especially in stop & go traffic.

Turning the heater on may divert the coolant away from the leak or prevent bubbling out the overflow. Turn the heater on as soon as the temp rise between 1/4 & 1/2. The heater is kind of a second like radiator where it will cool the coolant.

It takes 15 minutes for the car to warm up, so short distance may not get hot enough to need any anti-freeze which will prevent you from noticing the leak.

Look for white spots left behind from the anti freeze leak. It dries white & does not wash off without using vinegar. Check the seals & hoses. Rubber hoses & seals deteriorate with time.

When temp rises pull over & look for leaks. Overflow bottle & Radiator leak as result of another leak elsewhere. Both are plastic & melt or pop easily due to steam pressure. By that point a large amount of air got into the system or coolant boiled. Air causes coolant to expand which is why if you open it when its hot the coolant will shot out at you. I keep a bowl in my car to catch the leak & put it back in.

Bars copper leak stop actually stopped a big leak. I added about 1/4 & ran it for 15-30 minutes with coolant flowing out the water pump with no effect & then added more coolant & another 1/4 to stop the leak.

  • Please don't spam multiple posts with the exact same answer
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 16:02

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