The coolant tube, also known as the coolant bypass tube, is a cooling system component commonly found on many road going vehicles. Coolant tubes come in all shapes and sizes, and serve as a simple coolant outlets or inlets for engine coolant to pass through. They can be made of plastic or metal, and are often constructed as serviceable components that can be changed out if necessary. As they are a part of the cooling systems, any problems with the vehicle’s coolant tubes can lead to overheating and possible engine damage. Usually a bad or failing coolant bypass tube will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.
1. Low coolant levels
One of the first signs of a potential problem with the coolant bypass tube is low coolant levels. If the coolant bypass tube develops any small leaks or cracks it may cause the coolant to slowly seep or evaporate out over time, sometimes at a rate slow enough that it may not be noticeable to the driver. The driver will have to constantly add coolant to the vehicle to keep it at the proper level.
2. Visible coolant leaks
Visible leaks are another common symptom of a problem with the coolant tube. Coolant tubes are usually made out of metal or plastic, which can be susceptible to corrosion and cracking over time. If the leak is small, steam, and a faint coolant odor may be produced, while a larger leak will leave noticeable traces of coolant on the ground or engine bay, clouds of steam, or a noticeable coolant odor.
3. Engine overheating
Another, more serious, symptom of a problem with the coolant tube is the engine overheating. If the coolant bypass tube leaks and the coolant level drops too low it can cause the engine to overheat. Overheating is dangerous to an engine and can cause permanent damage if the engine is run for too long at too high of a temperature. Any issue that causes overheating should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent the possibility of serious engine damage.
The coolant tube is a component of the engine’s cooling system and therefore important to keeping the engine cool and operating at safe temperatures. For this reason, if you suspect that your coolant tube may be leaking or having an issue, have the vehicle diagnosed by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to determine if your car needs a replacement coolant tube and ensure that future damage is prevented.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Coolant Tube and was authored by Ed Ruelas.