Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Having some serious coolant problems

asked by on

My vehicle I'm constantly adding coolant in my car and when I drive or stuck in traffic it overheats seeing steam coming from the hood..I could also smell coolant and its dripping when I park. I was wondering is it the holes or should I change the coolant reservoir.

My car has 140779 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello. If the car is overheating severely, the heads and/or block will warp and the engine will have to be rebuilt. Best not to drive it if you know it is overheating. If you are continually replacing coolant but it overheats even when just refilled, there is obviously some issue with either the thermostat, the radiator, radiator fans, or other components including components that are not "part" of the cooling system.

A worst case scenario is exhaust gases are escaping through a blown head gasket into the coolant causing BOTH the overheating and enough pressure to just keep blowing coolant out the cap or reservoir, thus explaining why you have to keep refilling it. On the other hand, if you are lucky, you may have a bad thermostat and a simple external leak in, say, a hose.

As usual, the situation will have to be diagnosed after which you will have, in hand, an estimate of what any required repairs would cost. Again, I encourage you to not drive a vehicle with such a serious malfunction. If you intend to keep the car, you want to avoid doing additional damage so as to keep repair costs as low as possible in the long run. If you need a local expert to inspect the overheating problem, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your location to check the car and advise you on repairs.

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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: Flashing CEL

The codes you recorded, P0304, P0171, P0301, P0300, all pertain to engine misfiring. The flashing of the Check Engine Light signifies that the misfiring is "active" (ongoing) and consequently you should try to get the car repaired before operating it...

Q: Why is my car leaking antifreeze?

Based on your description it sounds like your engine is overheating and the overheating is accompanied by a coolant leak. Coolant leaks can be both a cause and a consequence of overheating. Consequently, once the leak is repaired, your vehicle...

Q: I have water in my oil and need to fix the problem.

This problem is not an easily fixed problem. I would not recommend driving the car any more until a qualified technician can determine the problem. Water in the oil is a sign that you may have a blown head gasket...

Related articles

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...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...