Well this might be not too bad to oh ****. When the engine is cool have an assitant start your car. You stand with the radiator cap in your hand. Make sure the water level is at a level you can see it. When you start the engine look to see if you have bubbles coming up in the water/coolant. I have seen the bubbles from a small stream to boiling out of the top. So pay attention. If you have bubbles it is very possiable that you have a head gasket that has a crack from the cylinder head to the water jacket. If not have your cap checked. Now if this doesn't get to the problem, why are you saying dripping on the exhaust system. If you think you have a water leak in your radiator then you might find a water pressure checker. It is a device that allows you to pressure up the cooling system without starting the engine. Get a mirror and follow the water/coolant.
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I'm not sure what your "ac drain tube" is, but it is possible that the coolant is what drained out the night before. This means that the coolant is hot. Hot coolant expands and will overflow if the radiator is full to begin with. Most cars provide a coolant reservoir to capture this overflow - and to which to add coolant. If your car has this reservoir, you should maintain the level for HOT or COLD (do not fill to the top)depending on whether the engine is cold or hot. If the coolant level in the reservoir is between the HOT and COLD marks, (not up to the top) and you're seeing coolant on the ground, you have a leak somehwere. A heater core that is leaking usually shows up INSIDE the car - on the floor for the front passenger - directly below the dashboard; as this is where it is located.
A puddle under the car should give an idea as to where the leak originates. Arrange to park on top of a sheet of cardboard so that any leak will drip onto it. Check it later in the day or the next morning prior to starting and driving off. If dry, reposition the cardboard under the car again, and start the engine and drive off the cardboard. Park and retrieve the cardboard and inspect for wat spots. In either case, if water is found, you can use the cardboard to approximate the location of the leak. Bear in mind that the leak could drip onto a part - and floow the part to a low point before dripping on the cardboard.
Some of the underhood A/C components will drip condensate if they are running in hot, humid conditions. This is normal. Condensate is simply water and is odorless and colorless. Coolant, on the other hand - is slightly thicker than water and is usually yellow-green or pink in color and has a slightly sweet smell. Coolant has lubricating qualities too, so it will be slippery. You will probably not be able to tell the difference between the two by looking at it is on asphalt; but touching it with fingers and looking for color & smell will.
A little coolant on the ground is nothing to worry about. Make sure that the coolant level is not dropping consistantly, and you should be ok. If it is always requiring that you add coolant, it is the sign of a leak somewhere.
There may be a thermostat problem, but your symtoms indicate low coolant level. When coolant is too low, it will not circulate, so you get no heat in car, and the coolant remaining in engine block overheats because no cool fluid coming in.
You need to fill the system up properly then look for leaks.
With cold engine, open radiator cap. Fill with antifreeze directly in radiator. Start engine, top up rad if level drops. Put heat control on Hot. Fan on low, heat on high. Gently rev engine and top up rad as needed. IF as engine heats up, it starts kicking fuild violently out of radiator, then the thermostat is bad. if not, then recap radiator, top up overflow bottle and you're done. Look under car for any sign of leaks. Steady dripping indicates a leak, then address that.
This one is not easy to tell without seeing the car. But, a logical guess would be that the water pump is starting to go bad and is leaking intermediatly. If you can pressure check the cooling system or have it done that should give you the answer.
"Mystery leaks" can be very frustrating..You have a leak somewhere, guaranteed. Check all hose connections, hoses, the thermostat housing gasket, the water pump gasket, and the water pump itself (check it last). Try this: park the car overnight inside a garage immediately after driving it while it is still hot. Park it over a large piece of cardboard. Antifreeze is, among other things, oily in nature, and will stain the cardboard where the coolant drips onto it. The areas that get stained are not necessarily the area from which the coolant leaks--water travels along various surfaces until it reaches a low enough spot to drip from, But if you have a stain, even a small one, smell it...if it's antifreeze, check everything again. Sometimes you have a pinhole in a hose so small it is only open and spraying coolant when the system is at temperature and under pressure. Keep looking; you'll find it. If I helped you, please vote/comment, and good luck.
park yuour vehicle in a dry place like a garage or overhang area that you can see very well in or bring a light to it, after you park immediately open the hood and start to look from underneath the car for the drips and follow them back to where the leak is if you cant still find it try and inspect the hoses and lines following them from the radiaotr to thier connections
You can have it repaired at a radiator shop, or replaced with a new one. Are you sure it's the radiator that's leaking, sometimes it's the water pump or a hose that drips down onto the radiator. It can be difficult to locate due to air circulation of the fan and driving which spreads the leaking fluid around. I assume u top off the coolant often, since u say there are no issues w/ it overheating or running hot. If this is the case, the leak will eventually get worse, and adding coolant constantly gets expensive. Good luck, let me know what u decide to do, or if u have any other questions. Curt