Radiator or What?


I have a 2000 Ford Explorer and I seem to be loosing fluid out of the radiator but not sure where it is going. Should I get my radiator flushed?



I think you are saying that you have to keep adding water or coolant to the reservoir of your cooling system. If that’s what you mean, a radiator flush will not help solve this problem.

For now, check your oil and transmission fluid for any signs of contamination with water or coolant. Also check your tailpipe for white vapor in the exhaust. Let us know what you find out.


In addition to the above, if not the cause, have the cooling system pressure tested and the leak will soon become apparent. Don’t delay; an internal leak can do a lot of engine damage.


I had a pressure test done and they could not find a leak anywhere. what do you think?


If the test was done right,and there is no visible external leak, you must have an internal leak; it could be a head gasket or a leak into your transmission fluid (if you have automatic). As per the previous post, a small headgasket leak will show white smoke out of the tailpipe, a transmission cooler leak will show up in contaminated transmission fluid. You need to check both. Antifreeze can quickly destroy a transmission and a large leak from the head gasket can damage your engine. If a trasmission leak is detected, replace the radiator; flushing would be a waste of money. Also chnage the transmission fluid and filter. If the leak is into the engine, you will need a new head gasket. Please keep us posted.


will the white smoke come out of the tailpipe all the time while it is running or just when you start it? Also, how will I know if the fluid is in the transmission fluid? So you are saying if I have white smoke out the tailpipe then it is a head gasket and if the transmission fluid looks weird then it is going into it. Right? A year ago I had the head replaced in the vehicle.


The white smoke is most pronounced when you start up the car and warm it by before driving off slowly. At highway speed the fumes are too diluted to show up. Transmission fluid in good condition looks bright red like fruit juice. A white foam or discolered fluid indicates that you have contamination; any transmission shop can look at the dipstick and tell if somehting is wrong with the fluid. The folks who repaced your head gasket last year may not have done a good job. Do you still have the bill?