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First, I don't know a whole lot about vehicle repair. I've only done some minor repairs on my truck like sensors and anti-freeze types of repairs. I noticed this puddle of green fluid on my garage floor today just as I returned home. Tracked to these pipes on the passenger side. Any idea what this fluid is and how soon should I take it to a mechanic or attempt to fix it myself?enter image description here

Leaking

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  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Which engine is in this? Jun 18, 2023 at 22:28
  • It's a V6 engine.
    – Zannon
    Jun 20, 2023 at 5:30

2 Answers 2

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For your case, it looks like coolant is in the area of that black P clip holding the hose.

Start by picking a time when you can be without the car for a while. Don't tear your ride apart on Sunday night when you need to drive to work the next morning.

I'd open that P clip bolt, and see what you see inside. Use plenty of illumination and don't be afraid to poke and push and bent rubber pipes. If they're cracked, they already need replacing.

Avoid drinking coolant or getting any in your eyes, but its not as bad as other fluids in your car. If the engine is hot, the coolant could be 100 degrees C at room pressure, so let it cool a bit.


Most of the engine's coolant piping is around the front, between engine, water pump and radiator. The only hot water pipes that go toward the cabin are the ones for the heater matrix in your dashboard. But its all one pressure-domain so a leak anywhere will affect everything.


General advise:

Start by topping up the coolant if its low. Then clean it all and dry the engine. This helps identify the source easier.

Either go for a short drive or idle the car for a while to get some fresh leaks. Driving is more realistic but will splash drips around making more of a mess, whereas idling stationary might not leak the same way. Ideally you want the engine up to operating temperature to pressurise the coolant system. Some things leak at 10 psi where they don't leak at room pressure.

Now, get in with lots of light and an inspection mirror and trace the wetness.

If you were stationary, the leak will be mostly above the wet spots, but the water will track down diagonal surfaces some. If you were driving, the water could be blown backward some by airflow.

  • Best case, it's a hose termination, and you can simply tighten a jubilee clamp using a screwdriver. Tighten, clean the area, repeat the test.

  • Medium case, you find a hose that is cracked or perished and needs replacing. You'll need to buy a replacement hose with the same bends, diameter, total-length and angles and offsets. And temperature ratings.
    To swap a hose, you'll probably make a mess dropping coolant. Its your choice if you want to catch and reuse, or catch and recycle. Generally advised not to dump coolant into any kind of drains - don't be that guy.
    Then fit the new hose and tighten clamps. Check for clearances near fans/suspension/belts/moving parts. Top off radiator coolant levels ideally with more of the same brand/type of coolant.

  • Worst case, is your leak is coming through metal. That means there's a crack in a metal part, or maybe a gasket has failed and leaks under pressure. At this point you might consider taking the vehicle to a mechanic rather than replacing parts.

Aside - topping up coolant has its own risks with potential air bubbles - the less liquid you loose while changing pipes, the better. It is possible to have an air-bubble in a coolant passage that works like a plug, stopping all coolant movement. This is bad, but less common with modern vehicles.

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    Antifreeze contains chemicals that are toxic if a person ingests them. Antifreeze poisoning can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention - medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324807
    – HandyHowie
    Jun 20, 2023 at 8:59
  • @HandyHowie hence "Avoid drinking coolant or getting any in your eyes" though some on the skin isn't going to be too bad unless its hot, and gets wiped off.
    – Criggie
    Jun 20, 2023 at 9:10
  • "but its not as bad as other fluids in your car" makes it sound fairly benign, when really it is probably the most dangerous fluid in the vehicle that you are likely to ingest and not think much of it.
    – HandyHowie
    Jun 20, 2023 at 9:29
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Regardless of the engine (v6 or v8), this is most definitely a coolant leak. Looks like you are losing enough coolant you should probably get that looked at as soon as possible. Is it an emergency? I can't quite tell. It's enough I'd be worried about it, especially if you do any stop/go type driving (city). Whatever you decide to do, ensure you are double checking the coolant level in your rig before you drive it to ensure you've got enough to not cause issues. This is most likely something which you could do, but you'd need to figure out exactly what is leaking and where it is leaking at. Then find the part to replace it, which may be a lot of fun. The dealership is most likely where you'd find a replacement part. If they don't have one, they can give you the exact part number so you can cross reference it to the aftermarket.

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