The Consequences of Low Engine Coolant – and How You Can Prevent Them

With the amount of power and energy going through and produced by the engine, it produces a lot of heat, which needs to be taken care of with engine coolant to avoid heating-related engine damage.

Most car engines can tolerate up to 250°F before it starts to overheat, but you need to make sure it never comes to that as it can really hamper your day, especially if you’re on a long drive during a vacation.

To avoid heating problems, you need to make sure that your car’s cooling system has enough engine coolant to go around the radiator, thermostat, hose pipes, and other engine parts.

What does engine coolant do?

For most people who don’t have the time to know the different things going on in their engine’s cooling system, the engine coolant goes around the engine through the coolant pipe to absorb heat from different parts of the engine. 

As the thermostat detects increased engine heat, it allows more engine coolant to go around and alleviate the heating.

So, if the engine heat is going up, and you’re running on low coolant, you’re going to run into trouble.

Most people overlook engine coolant until they’re on the side of the road waiting for mechanics to show up.

But, you don’t have to experience this if you know the signs and risks of having low engine coolant.

Consequences of running on low engine coolant

If you’re looking for a quick way to destroy an engine, then you need to try running on low engine coolant.

However, we know that you’re not looking for that.

Running on low engine coolant is dangerous, as it can cause overheating and vital damage to your car’s engine.

If you are low on coolant for a long time, you won’t just have to do engine coolant change, but you might also have to spend a lot of money on the damage it can cause.

  1. Overheating engine

With low engine coolant, there will surely be a huge increase to your engine’s temperature, and this can cause problems, especially for heat-sensitive engine parts.

When the engine overheats, your head gasket may start leaking and start allowing too much coolant into the engine’s combustion chamber.

If this goes on, your car will start losing power, and you may end up with a totaled engine.

  1. Blown head gasket

A blown head gasket can cause many problems for your engine.

As your engine overheats, its head gasket may start to leak coolant.

You can’t feel this at first, so it’s better to check for the signs when the engine temperature is higher than normal.

To find out if you have a blown head gasket, check the engine’s oil dipstick and look for bubbles or white liquid.

If you have a blown head gasket, you should bring your car to the nearest car service shop.

  1. Corrosion

The antifreeze in engine coolant has properties that protect the engine, which is metal, from rust.

So, if your engine’s low on coolant, it may develop corrosion which is bad for your overall engine life.

Signs of low engine coolant

While there are dire consequences if you unknowingly let your engine work with inadequate coolant, there are some signs that you can watch out for to ensure that your vehicle won’t suffer from overheating.

  1. Rising temperature

The engine coolant’s job is to cool your engine, so it’s very straightforward that your engine may be suffering from low coolant when it’s overheating.

If you notice overheating, check the radiator for coolant levels and fill it with water. Observe the temperature gauge, and if it doesn’t come down, then you probably have a low engine coolant, or there’s a leakage.

In this case, go to the nearest service center as soon as possible to save your engine from damage.

  1. Broken radiator cap

If you check your radiator and notice that the radiator cap is damaged, then you surely have low engine coolant because it can allow engine coolant to spill.

While it’s easy to spot a broken radiator cap, wait to cool the engine down before taking it away as the heat and engine pressure can cause the coolant to spray, which can cause severe burns. 

  1. A sweet smell

If you’re driving around and notice a sweet smell, you may not be smelling pastries from a nearby bakery but smelling the sweet scent of antifreeze in the engine coolant.

If you notice this smell, there’s a high chance that your cooling pipes are leaking and, and you need to have it checked out by a mechanic to prevent it from causing further damage.

Looking out for coolant problems

Having low engine coolant can cause a lot of potential damage to your engine.

Aside from having to change the coolant, it can also cause damage due to overheating.

Aside from damage to your engine and the money it costs, we’re sure that having to stop on the side of the road with a dead engine can cause a lot of trouble, and it’s never safe out there, especially when you’re on a long trip.

So, if you want to extend your engine’s life and keep going where you want to, you should look out for low engine coolant. 

For more low engine coolant help and other automotive-related stuff, read our review and articles; and if you want to take the next step to take care of your sweet ride, join our growing The Automotive Men community now!


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