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Old 02-20-2012, 09:31 AM
 
660 posts, read 2,304,654 times
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Please excuse my ignorance but I have been putting water in my radiator and reservoir (bottle inside the car engine). Is that a bad practice? I have seen water dropping from the engine I think the bottle or some pipe is leaking.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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It’s very bad.

1. The engine could freeze, which will push out a freeze plug or crack the block.
2. Water dilutes the corrosion protection of the existing coolant.


This is one of those issues where it’s in your best interest to have the leak repaired and the cooling system flushed. I have seen many small coolant leaks nursed along until something very bad happens.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Northern MN
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Use coolant not water.
Next have your system pressure cheeked and the leak fixed.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:55 AM
 
660 posts, read 2,304,654 times
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Thanks everyone! What should I do with the water already in the reservior bottle since I just filled in water this morning? I think it will automatically leak in couple of days. I will get the leak fixed ASAP!

PS: I did went to the mechanic few weeks ago and they checks the system pressure and found no leaks. But I can see small puddle under the car and it is constantly leaking something.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Northern MN
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Have the folks who repair it refill your coolant system.

As for the freeze up where do you live (how cold does it get) and how much water have you added?

It may not be a big deal if your temps are above 20*f
hopefully the coolant is not that diluted yet.
if your going to get it fixed asap it may be a non issue.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:05 AM
 
660 posts, read 2,304,654 times
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Thanks for the reply! I live in Houston TX and currently the temperature is between 45F-60F. Yes, I will definitely get it checked tomorrow.
I filled the complete radiator (cap thing in the engine) and half of the reservior bottle.


Thanks for all the help!
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Northern MN
3,870 posts, read 5,460,967 times
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Then freezing and cracking the block should not be a issue, your issue would be over heating as coolant dissipates the heat better than water does.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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There will not be water leaking from your cooling system, that will still be mostly coolant, which is green (unless you have already added about 5 gallons). If its hot and you're running your AC, water dripping under your car might just be atmospheric condensation from the AC, which is normal.

However, if you are adding only water to the plastic overflow bottle, and what you see leaking is only water, it probably just a crack in the overflow reservoir, which will not do any harm and will be cheap to repair.

Adding a small amount of water to your radiator coolant will not do any harm, as long as the mixture is mostly coolant (anti-freeze). Unless it goes down to about 40-below, you will still have plenty of protection.

Years ago in Houston, people didn't use antifreeze at all. If they thought it was going to freeze overnight, they just turned the stopcock and drained their radiator before they went to bed, and then refilled it with the garden hose the next morning.

Last edited by jtur88; 02-20-2012 at 11:55 AM..
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Poway, CA
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In a pinch, water is fine. But as others have mentioned, you should be running a 50/50 mix of water (preferably distilled) and antifreeze. Thankfully, to make it a bit easier, you can buy coolant that already has the right mix so all you do is open it up and pour it in. Just be sure to ask the parts guy which one is right for your car as there are a few different formulas out there and the wrong one in your car can cause sludge.

Mike
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:28 PM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
5,942 posts, read 6,221,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marykate1 View Post
Thanks everyone! What should I do with the water already in the reservior bottle since I just filled in water this morning? I think it will automatically leak in couple of days. I will get the leak fixed ASAP!

PS: I did went to the mechanic few weeks ago and they checks the system pressure and found no leaks. But I can see small puddle under the car and it is constantly leaking something.
Are you filling the radiator and expansion tank to the top? If that is the case you are leaving no room for water expansion when the water heats up to operating temperature.
If the mechanic tested the system and said you have no leaks then you are probably pushing water out the overflow.
Leave some room in the expansion tank and close the hood.
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