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Coolant leak - need to replace radiator??

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Tommyboy04, Dec 4, 2023.

  1. Tommyboy04

    Tommyboy04 New Member

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    I took my 2008 Prius (120K miles) to my most often-used mechanic today to get the engine coolant replaced. After looking the vehicle over and getting set to perform the service, they notified me of a coolant leak around one of the hoses - and told me I would probably need a new radiator. The tech showed me where the leak was (wasn't able to upload a pic for some reason) and said he didn't want to change the coolant when it would need to be changed by default if the radiator was replaced. He also told me the coolant looked pretty good anyway, so not to worry about not having it changed today.

    I was surprised to hear about the leak, as I have never seen any coolant puddles in the garage and haven't ever noticed anything when I've changed the oil. I also had this vehicle taken in for a recent multi-point inspection/trip check to a different place, where they combed it for any issues, and they didn't notice.

    Nonetheless, upon showing me the spot - the tech pointed out that there had been some hardened pink residue around the house (pictured) and that he had scraped some of it away - but some was still visible.

    My question: Is this a no-brainer to replace the radiator? If there are some visible signs of coolant leakage on this hose, is there a good chance the radiator may be ready to go out? I really don't want to break down somewhere, but also don't want to spend nearly $1K unnecessarily.
     
  2. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    So your hose that's leaking or showing leaking Is it plug directly into the radiator Is it about an inch and a half diameter hose pretty fat? Or is it one of the skinnier 3/4 5/8 and so on sizes I mean if you're in a rough belt part of the country it is possible the radiator has been compromised I'm down here in the southeast I don't see bad radiators very often if I can even remember at all I've changed a few broken and crashes but not generally just leaking and generally messed up as they're pretty well made from the get-go I have three cars here from 400,000 down to 160 no radiator problems in the southeast here at my place so far so I would definitely have it looked at again. There are a couple of different filler necks I think that can be on these things so it just depends what you have have it looked at again carefully You may find there's really nothing going on.
     
  3. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    The area that had coolant marks on it needs to be cleaned to be sure there's a leak big enough to be concerned with. I bet there is not. It's often a spill during a long ago servicing. Also modern day radiators rarely if ever benefit from a coolant change. Back in the day you'd clog your radiator real quick without coolant changes often, but that pretty much never happens anymore.
     
  4. Tommyboy04

    Tommyboy04 New Member

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    It is one of the fatter hoses. I had it taken to a different place for a check a couple weeks prior to this, and they didn't notice anything. I'm in North Carolina - and haven't ever driven it in any kind of extreme cold. I also didn't understand fully why I needed a new radiator given the supposed leak was only around one of the hoses - can the hose not just be replaced - but I may be exposing my limited grasp of the Prius's layout when it comes to the radiator and what a bad radiator means.
     
  5. Tommyboy04

    Tommyboy04 New Member

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    I change my own oil - so I plan to keep a close eye on it. Also, great thought on cleaning around the hose - that way I'll know how active the leak is. It seems likely that even if there is a leak, its incredibly small and slow moving - so again, I question - how does a leak that small necessitate a whole new radiator?
     
  6. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    Well if it's coming from the radiator or one of its fittings and the fitting can't be changed without changing the radiator then you see the problem If it's just coming from a permeated hose which is a piece of rubber that allows liquid to pass through it from age usually then you could change the hose but if it's in fact a hold in some part of the aluminum then you're probably not going to get that fixed It takes special welding and what not to deal with aluminum.
     
  7. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Usually, the new radiator replacement recommendation is necessitated by a large recurring house payment or boat payment by a mechanic who runs a shop that's biggly dishonest about their ability to generate wealth that out of the need to survive they have to make sure your bank account gets sucked into their ability to financially fail at life.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Patron saint of newly poured sidewalks

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    How's the coolant level in the reservoir, holding steady?