I just found coolant under the car, and I'm at work!

I am currently at work and I went out to my car a few hours ago. I noticed that there is a LOT of coolant under my car. The top of the motor looks the same as it did before this leak started, there is no coolant on top of the motor. I can’t really fit myself all the way under the car to see where exactly it is leaking from.
I suspect that it is the water pump that is leaking.
I have only had this car for a few weeks, and everything seemed to be going fine.

Is it possible that I can make it the 52 mile trip home?
What should I do?

2000 Dodge Stratus

No. It is not safe to drive.

You have had this car for only a few weeks? Did you buy it? From who?

If you purchased this car from a car dealer then it might still be under warranty. Many used cars have a 30 day warranty after the purchase. If this is the case then call them and have them tow the car and fix it.

Of course this is assuming you purchased the car.

Check your radiator and overflow for coolant. If they are low, you can use water to top them off to drive to a garage for repair. You can keep adding water or a water coolant mix until it is repaired, fresh coolant should be added then. If everything is full, you might have parked over someone else’s leak.

I bought the car used, from a friend.
I checked all the fluids when I was checking it out and everything seemed ok.
I’m sure that the coolant is leaking from my car, because when I first checked I could see it dripping from the bottom. I probably should have flushed and refilled the radiator, but the fluid looked green.

If you could see it dripping from the bottom when sitting still in the parking lot, than it’ll be very risky to try a 52 mile trip home. It’ll pressurize when it heats up and blow the coolant out instead of just dripping. Unless the drips were coming from the reservoir, in which case the motor is blowing fluid out through the radiator cap. Itself not a good sign.

My recommendation is to have it towed to your favorite shop, arrangel for e rental to get home (or rides from a friend or coworker), and let it get looked at before driving it any further. Hopefully it’ll be minor, like a radiator leak, and you’ll have caught it before any serious damage was done.

If you plan to fix this yourself, post back and we’ll try to help.

I overlooked the 52 mile part. Top off the cooling system and stop and check every ten miles or so. Be very careful to not burn yourself with the hot coolant. If it only takes a little coolant to top off, you should be in better shape for the trip.

Keep a sharp eye on the temp gauge. Pull over if it goes either up OR DOWN. Down can indicate no coolant around the sensor. You do not want to overheat the engine.

Keith, that is kind of what I was planning on doing.

When I get home (hopefully) I will jack the car up so I can have a better look.
I priced the water pump, just $45, and a timing belt, $31, so hopefully it will not be too expensive.
I also have a haynes manual.
Any tips for the job or about how long I can expect to be under the hood?
It’s pretty dang cold outside, and it is snowing!

I guess I’d top the coolant off and drive it to the nearest repair shop for a look see. Until you determine where its coming from, its a crap shoot. If it is a burst hose, you’ll never make it and is a cheap repair. Normally water pumps will only leak when the car is running so I would question that. I’ve made it on leaky water pumps and a 150 mile trip with a pin hole leak in a hose after a walmart patch, but its very risky. Take your opportunity to leave early and pick your shop.

I just got home, it did fine. I didn’t notice the temperature fluctuate at all. It could possibly be a pin hole in one of the hoses.
Before I can trouble shoot this, I have to fix the starter on my van!

Be wary of this. If it happens to be coming from the weep hole in the water pump, that can suddenly blow.