What Causes Volvo Antifreeze/Coolant Leak?

Your Volvo’s antifreeze is critical to safe operation of the engine. It protects not just the engine but other components around it from overheating. It does this by taking heat from the engine and quickly cooling it with outside air that flows through the radiator. That’s not all though. The antifreeze also prevents cooling system water from freezing in extremely cold temperatures. Lastly, it acts as a rust inhibitor inside the engine, piping and the radiator. In light of all these, it is safe to conclude that your car’s antifreeze is a vital under-hood fluid which must be checked regularly. Unfortunately, it leaks sometimes without warning. Fix it as soon as you notice a leak. But before then, keep in mind that an antifreeze leak can be caused by any of the following issues:

Faulty Radiator Hose

The radiator hose can or split. This is normal especially if you’ve driven your car for many years without inspecting or changing the radiator. Hose clamps that connect radiator hoses can also fail because of wear and tear. All these radiator issues can easily cause antifreeze leakage. The best solution is to simply replace the fault hose. Before then though, it is important to first inspect the length of the hose for any damage from time to time. That way, you will notice a teething problem before it worsens.

Faulty Radiator Cap

The radiator cup, which is used to seal the radiator, can also be another culprit behind antifreeze leakage. It can get damaged or even break. This means it will not contain the pressure that builds up inside the radiator. The outcome will be a serious antifreeze leak as the vehicle moves. This is a serious problem although it often looks harmless. In serious cases, it can cause the radiator hose to fall.

Fortunately for Volvo owners, there are several things you can be on the lookout for when trying to find out if your radiator cap is the main reason your car’s antifreeze leaks. First make sure that the cap has the right pressure rating for your vehicle. Note that the cap does not have to be damaged to cause a leak if the pressure rating is incorrect for your radiator.

A faulty seal on the radiator cap can be easily spotted with visual inspection of the main seal, valve seal and even pressure. There is also the fact that the spring in the cap should have resistance. If there is none, you have to replace it.


It is a sizeable plastic container which is an overflow reservoir for heated water and antifreeze. It needs to be airtight to prevent leaks. Should it have a small hole or crack, the coolant will slowly leak and force you to replace the reservoir. The good news here is the fact that Volvo coolant tanks are easy to install. They are also affordable.

Radiator Leak

Antifreeze leak can also be caused by a leaking radiator. If you have ensured all the parts mentioned above are fine, insect the radiator. Keep in mind though that you cannot do this on your own. Find a licensed Volvo mechanic to inspect the radiator and the car for causes of antifreeze leak as well as other problems.