If I see coolant dripping from my engine compartment is my heater core busted?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I seem to have a problem with my '90 Ford Tempo. I have a leak in the
cooling system and I'm stumped. After driving the car, I often hear the
sizzle of coolant hitting the exhaust. I can sometimes see coolant dripping
slowly out of the engine compartment. It seems to be coming off the
firewall in front of the passenger seat area. Do you think I have a damaged
heater core? How can I check it? -- Mike

RAY: I seriously doubt it's a damaged heater core, Mike, because the heater
core is mostly inside the car. So if your heater core were leaking, the
coolant would be dripping on your feet (or near them), not on the driveway.

TOM: It could be something very simple, like a hose that's starting to leak
or a loose hose clamp.

RAY: Have your mechanic "pressure test" the cooling system. Once the system
is under pressure, it should be pretty easy to see where the coolant is

TOM: And if you've led a good, clean life, Mike, all you'll need is a clamp

RAY: And if not, it'll be a cracked engine block. Good luck.

* * *

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