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How to Check for Cooling System Leaks in a Toyota Tacoma

by Contributor

The cooling system in your Toyota Tacoma is an integral part that keeps it operating efficiently. If there are leaks that go unchecked, this can cause the cooling system to malfunction and thereby damage the engine. Checking for these leaks is relatively easy and anyone can perform this important task.

Step 1

Move the Toyota Tacoma from its normal parking place and check for signs of leakage. This is the easiest way to check for leaks and if you make a habit of checking each time you move the truck, it can be the best early warning signal for leaks.

Step 2

Open the hood to check the water pump and the gasket seal for any signs of leakage. The water pump is usually behind the engine fan and attached to the engine. The gasket seal attaches the water pump to the engine block. If there's a leak, you'll notice discoloration or corrosion on these parts.

Step 3

Examine the hoses that connect the radiator with the engine and the engine to the heater core. The heater core is located behind the engine near the windshield. Check for any bulging, cracking or splitting in the hoses and for any noticeable signs of coolant leakage. There can also be pinhole or pinch leaks in these hoses, which surface only when there's pressure or heat exposure to the hoses.

Step 4

Inspect the radiator for any signs of leakage with a flashlight. Be sure to inspect the radiator from every possible angle to verify any leaking. The reserve tanks are plastic and the core of the radiator is aluminum. This construction makes the radiator vulnerable to damage from rock and road debris while driving.

Step 5

Twist the radiator cap one full turn, step back, wait a few minutes and then completely remove the radiator cap.

Step 6

Add fresh coolant to the radiator. Then, turn the engine on with the heater on high. Allow it to run like this for about 15-minutes. Switch off the engine and inspect the engine parts from the previous steps.

Check the coolant to see if it went down again. If it did, but there's still no visible signs of leakage, the problem could internal. In this case, you should consult a cooling system specialist for further diagnostics.


  • To protect your skin from coolant damage you should always wear gloves and a long sleeved shirt when working with coolant.
  • Even if there aren't any signs of leakage underneath the Toyota Tacoma, it doesn't mean there aren't any leaks. The leaky coolant can burn up before it ever hits the ground.


  • Be very careful with coolant as it's extremely toxic to people and pets.
  • Be sure the radiator is cool to the touch before you try taking the cap off. There's internal pressure inside the radiator and it can erupt, burning anyone in the area severely.

Items you will need

  • Flashlight
  • Coolant
  • Gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt

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