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Car Takes a Leak After Short Trip

Been noticing a small 4-5" puddle (anti-freeze) under my car in my parking spot at work. This is the only time it seems to leak. It’s a short drive, under 10 miles. It never leaks overnight on the driveway at home, or after it’s driven somewhere in the evening. It only seems to leak after my morning drive, since I drive to lunch and back at noon, and it doesn’t leak then either. I know anti freeze will tend to leak more when it’s cold than when warm, so I figure it must be something with the short cold start trip in the morning. But you would think it would leak after cooling down over night too. Does this sound like a radiator leak? I’ve had 2 other Tauruses and those both would leak from the radiator once in awhile.

Yes, it does (where the plastic tanks meet the metal radiator probably).

On short trips the engine isn’t very hot, so the antifreeze leaks off and falls to the ground. On longer trips it will vaporize. That’s my theory, anyway. You have a leak and it may just need a hose clamp tightened or the hose removed, sealer installed and the hose replaced. Most of these are pretty simple. It might also be a freeze plug but I would check the hoses first. On Saturday, start it up in the driveway for a while, let it warm up, then turn it off and watch where the antifreeze is coming out.

My guess is that the spot where the leak is is self-sealing itself after everything is fully heated up due to temperature expansionn of a seal. It’s not leaking at night because as the spot cools, the coolant also is cooling, not only relieveing positive pressure but creating negative pressure (which is what draws the coolant from the reservoire back past the radiator cap and into the engine as the engine cools down).

My recommendation would be to have a syetem pressure test done, and pay particular attention to the weephole at the water pump. If necessary, have a dye test. This problem will not fix itself, could suddenly erupt into a sudden hemmorage (seen this), and could ultimately lead to an engine disaster.

It may be a simple fix ir could need a waterpump. The only way to know is a real close look-see. Either way, I would not procrastinate on this.