why is my car going through coolant quickly?

Posted by 3134, Aug 3, 2006
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  1. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    I recently have been aware that my car is going through a lot of coolant very quickly. By quickly, i mean in one 10 minute drive all of my coolant that is in the coolant canister is dissolved into the engine somewhere since it is not leaking anywhere. I am not sure if this is significant, but around the same time my temp gauge is no longer working and just stays at all the way cold and doesn't move. So please, why is my car eating coolant like this?
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  2. diablos991

    diablos991 Proven Member

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    First things to do here are compression test, and a pressure test on your coolant system.
    Have you tried swapping out the coolant temp sensor to solve your temp gauge problem?

    Have you ran the car and visually checked for leaks?
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  3. nightspeed87

    nightspeed87 Proven Member

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    well i wouldnt drive your car until you get a temp gauge hooked up...
    You could get the stock one working again, but preferabaly you might as well just gone and get an aftermarket coolant gauge thats more percise, or get the palm pilot logger that will log your coolant temps...( Good idea for a logger anyways)
    Now as far as it leaking, on my old engine my water pump seal was bad, and it leaked out a lot of water while i was driving but only while i was driving because the water pressure rises when you drive to make it come out... ( but when its off and sitting still its not leaking therefore would give you the impression it doesnt leak ) Look around the water pump area for signs of any dryed substance or caulking around that area... *( and what type of coolant do you use? ) And also do a compression check because its possibe your head is messed up allowing coolant to enter the combustion chamber and go out with exhaust but im sure youd know if it was that because it would perform really poorly.
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  4. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    i have not done anything as of yet, i just figured out this is a problem today. I am in the process of buying a logger, it should be here hopefully tomorrow. If I go to a mechanic what are the main things I should mention I think this could be? All I know is that when the car is on/off and not moving the coolant does not leak, but during the drive the coolant magically disappears.
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  5. diablos991

    diablos991 Proven Member

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    Does your car smoke? If so, I would say head gasket.
    Also you could try revving it to see if coolant sprays out from somewhere.
    Basically the two tests that should be done are as mentioned earler. The coolant pressure test will tell if you have a leak in a line somewhere. And the compression test will give you more insight as to if it is the head gasket.
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  6. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    I don't have any smoke, so i think i can nearly rule out a head gasket leak. I will perform a coolant pressure test when i have time. I will just not drive the car until i get this done. I am going to try revving it and look for spraying also.
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  7. nightspeed87

    nightspeed87 Proven Member

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    i got a coolant pressure test at an auto shop before for 15bucks...
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  8. OSXer

    OSXer Proven Member

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    Have you done an oil change to check if the two are mixing? That may enlighten you as to what is going on.

    Either the coolant is hitting the ground (either up front or out the exhaust), it's burning up (smoke out the exhaust), or it's joining up with the oil.
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  9. dieseltech

    dieseltech Proven Member

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    sounds like a significant leak to me. Definately check the oil for a milky substance on the dipstick (oil/water mix) and do a coolant leak test. Can you smell Coolant when you drive? It could be your heater core leaking into the passenger floor area. It would explain why you don't see a leak on the groud because it's all soaking up in the carpet. Check the passangers side for wetness (giggle). If it's damp or sopping wet your heater core is bad. If it were cooler outside and you used the defrost you'd notice a film on the inside of the windshield. Good luck and let us know.
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  10. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    could this possibly be because of my airconditioner and it not working? My air conditioner doesn't work but it sounds like it should. Sometimes it will work, but only when it is cooler outside.
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  11. dieseltech

    dieseltech Proven Member

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    nope
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  12. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    does the air conditioner have any correlation with the coolant because I am thinking this is only a problem when the airconditioner is on.
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  13. dieseltech

    dieseltech Proven Member

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    it does put an extra load on the cooling system. The core infront of your radiator is for the a/c. That core cools the refridgerant and can become very hot. But there is nowhere in your system where the fluids will be able to get mixed together. Check to see if your fan turns on when you turn your a/c on.
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  14. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    when i originally checked my coolant fluid it was dry (i didn't keep checking previously so it may have been very dry and i just never knew). I originally added coolant and it was all used and then the coolant canister was empty. I then added more when the car was hot and when the car was still hot it stood at the same level, but then when the car cooled down it dropped about 1/4 of the canister (3 1/2 - 4 hours later). Could this just be because the car cooled and the fluids settled? Could this possibly be just that my car needed coolant bad and it needed to settle when the car was cold?
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  15. diablos991

    diablos991 Proven Member

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    It sounds like it was overheating and boiled coolant out of the overflow bottle. You really need to get that gauge fixed or log the coolant temps.
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  16. No_Skillz

    No_Skillz Proven Member

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    Your car will suck coolant back into the system when it cools down. Water takes up more volume when it heats up which is precisely why your overflow bottle is there in the first place. The system should squirt some in there when it gets too hot, and suck it back in when it cools back down. However, it seems as though your radiator cap is either too worn out or does not hold the proper amount of pressure, as being at idle should not create enough heat to push coolant out of the system. Just drop by Pep Boys or something and grab a 13lb radiator cap. If your radiator cap is not functioning it will let coolant be pushed out under the correct pressure, therefore filling your overflow bottle too quickly and dumping it out under your car... obviously not having enough left over to be sucked back into the system.
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  17. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    if i leave my car at idle for an hour and my coolant is still around where it should be is it safe to drive? I know i do not have a temp gauge, but I do not want to pay to get mine fixed and then get the logger so i decided to just wait for the logger. Problem is I am supposed to leave for jersey today and really need to go.
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  18. diablos991

    diablos991 Proven Member

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    Its really risky to drive your car or let it idle right now. Tempurature is a vital thing to monitor on a car. If you over heat, you could blow a head gasket or warp/crack the head.
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  19. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    but I have been monitoring it and the coolant is not being sucked up and it is not leaking. The fan also comes on when it gets too hot so it seems as if everything is in check. There is no smoke or anything...
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  20. diablos991

    diablos991 Proven Member

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    How have you been monitoring it? You said your gauge wasn't working and your logger wasn't here yet. Get a cap like stated above and see if that helps. If it doesn't I would not drive the car until you figure out the problem.

    The last thing that you want is for it to dump all of your coolant while you are on the highway.
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  21. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    by monitoring i mean standing by it and looking for smoke or anything. I know this is the worst way to do it, but my car has overheated before due to a falty thermostat so I know the signs of a car that is overheating. I am going to go get a cap, before I leave. My major concern is if the coolant was being rapidly lost which it is apparent it isn't. I am going to bring with my some tools and also a gallon of coolant just incase I do run into a problem on the road.
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  22. 3134

    3134 Proven Member

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    Honestly, i do not want to drive this car until the gauge is fixed but it is my g/f's birthday and if i don't show up she will kill me.
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