Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Coolant reservoir empties in one trip

asked by on

I have a 2006 Camry with about 190,000 miles on it. A few days ago The engine heat gauge went high suddenly and when I looked the coolant reservoir was empty. I filled it and drove for half an hour. Next day I checked the reservoir out of curiosity but it was again empty. Ever since I have to fill the reservoir every time.

Now a few things to note: a couple of mechanics checked the engine but there is no visible leak, even the color dye added to the reservoir didn't appear anywhere and the engine has timing chain not belt. The exhaust has no smoke and is clear, even the mechanics said that. No one could given me a good reason for the complete lose of coolant from reservoir after every trip. What should I do? I need help.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: If the radiator cap has failed (i.e. it doe...

If the radiator cap has failed (i.e. it doesn’t hold the specified pressure built up in the cooling system when the car is running), the cap will prematurely open while the car is running and coolant will flow into the reservoir and possibly overflow the reservoir (thus "losing" coolant).

Then as the engine cools after you turn it off, all available coolant is drawn back into the cooling system to make up for the overflow, thus lowering the level in the reservoir, or perhaps even emptying the reservoir if the cap failure continues over time.

That latter scenario is a possibility, but radiator caps can be tested if you have the right equipment.

If it the cap has already tested, and the cap tested good and there are no cracks (leaks) on the plastic coolant reservoir or loose connections, that confirms that you have an external or internal cooling leak (no mystery - there is a leak).

A standard test for exhaust in the coolant should be performed to see if perhaps the head gasket is leaking. Cooling systems on cars are not like working on the space shuttle...that is your cooling system is very limited in extent and there are very few "devices" involved (thermostat, radiator, some sensors, a cap, and so forth.) I’m really not sure why the shop you took it to was unable to find the leak.

At any rate, the thing to do is have an appropriate diagnostic performed. A professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to pinpoint the coolant leak and have this problem repaired correctly.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: What type of oil is best for this car if I need to change oil? I have a 5 cylinder straight 2006 Xc90.

The use of the wrong type of oil can sometimes cause codes like these, but this is rare. There my be a malfunctioning variable valve solenoid on the vehicle which can be the solenoid itself, actuator on the camshaft or...

Q: Master cylinder and brake booster leaking

Worn master cylinder seals can cause brake fluid to leak into the brake booster, damaging it. I'm guessing this is what happened to your truck. Replacing both the master cylinder and brake booster is the only way to solve this...

Q: Air conditioner compressor bearing clacks when air on

Hello. It is common for the compressor clutch to make this noise as the vehicle ages. The clutch clearance widens over time which makes it harder for the clutch to firmly engage. In some cases, the clutch can be slightly...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...