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Car leaking antifreeze slowly, can't find out where.

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Dec 3, 2014, 9:08 PM

Post #1 of 2 (810 views)
Car leaking antifreeze slowly, can't find out where. Sign In

Year of vehicle - 2010
Make of vehicle - Dodge
Model of vehicle - Caliber
Engine size (2.0)
Mileage/Kilometers - 195,000km

Car leaking antifreeze and can't find out wher

My 2010 Dodge Caliber has been leaking anti-freeze very slowly. I notice it when I start the car up and for the first minute I can actually smell the antifreeze coming through the vents when I have the air on. If I park the car and go in to the grocery store for a few minutes and start it up again the smell doesn't re-occur. I imagine I have a leak somewhere that is dripping onto the engine and when the car starts up from cold it burns it which is sending that smell through my vents.
I was told a while ago it could be the heater core, however I would assume that if it was the heater core I would have had a fog up on my window or a constant smell, not one that dissipates after a minute.
I had this problem last year except I was losing a lot of antifreeze (about a whole reservoir in 3 - 4 days. The problem was found to be a broken clamp on one of the hoses. This time however I cannot find any broken clamps or a source of the leak for that matter. I did notice that when I shut the car off the one time, and checked under the hood of the car I seen one air bubble spring up from the reservoir tank. I cannot see any signs of a leak from under the hood. However under the car I can see it is dripping from the frame, but not where it is coming from.

I can hear a slow dripping sound in the silver area where it connects the exhaust system, that gradually fades after car has been off for 2 minutes.

I can see the anti-freeze dripping but no signs of where it is coming from

Seems to be dripping all the way down the center of the car frame to the front.

Close up front view from under the car of where the antifreeze was dripping in photo 2

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I was also informed that the radiator cap should be replaced every year, I have not done this since we got the car in 2010, could this be a problem? There is no leaks by the radiator cap.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Dec 4, 2014, 3:19 AM

Post #2 of 2 (787 views)
Re: Car leaking antifreeze slowly, can't find out where. Sign In

I'd pressure test this engine both cold and again warm with a hard look for the source at engine. Agree a heater core would both have the odor and that much have sticky windows and usually a wet floor under it inside.

Leak source usually found highest and most forward and remains unknown now from simple to a large job.

Pressure cap: You said you saw to replace it every two years? Test one or clean it and toss when it doesn't behave as designed but really not the common cause unless this pressure cap and others simply can't hold pressure to prescribed amount the boiling point of the coolant would drop and could very well cause overheating or spot overheating and damage. Your call on test or replace that often,


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