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Q: Overheating

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2008 Rx350 - coolant is draining after I fill it up. No huge puddle to indicate leakage. Car is running very hot within moments of starting car up almost pushing a notch away from the red zone. Squealing noise is being emitted but very faintly. Also I smell a sweet burnt syrup smell that is faint. 122,000 miles

My car has 9999999 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. This is a concern I’ve experienced many times while employed at a Lexus dealer. The low coolant level is contributing to the high operating temperature and is a direct result of a coolant leak. The smell you are experiencing is the coolant leaking to the outside of the engine and being burned off by the high temperature.

The squealing noise may be coolant leaking from the water pump onto the serpentine belt. A cooling system pressure test would be the best bet to locate the leak/leaks. If you are not seeing a puddle, the leak may be at what is called the engine block valley plate; located under the intake manifold and very difficult to see. However, I think there may also be a water pump leak as well causing the noise. The valley plate will leak into the middle of the engine block where the coolant will sit until it either burns off or overflows to the ground. YourMechanic has several available technicians to assist you with a coolant leak inspections, and water pump replacement (if needed), and can provide an estimate and direction for proper repair.

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