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Q: Water and Sealant Mixture Found in Coolant Tank.

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Hello. I just recently purchased the car from an individual through craigslist. Since the purchase I’ve had to replace the coil pack, engine mounts and battery. Today when we were waiting on the car to be inspected for registration, I noticed that in the coolant tank there was water and a sealant mixture mixed in with it. My concern is: is this safe to drive with just water? If so, how long? If not, and the coolant needs to be flushed but, a leak is then found...how much is that cost? If there’s other ideas you have in regards to mitigating this issue. Please, let me know. Thank you.

My car has 186000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A mechanic can test the cooling system for "percent anti-freeze" (it should be around 50 to 75% antifreeze, the remainder clean water). Only then will you know if the cooling system itself contains only, or mostly, "water". The mechanic would also make a visual inspection of the coolant to see if there is dirt, sediment or corrosion. If the time interval during which the coolant has been installed is not known the safest thing to do is just replace the coolant. If you desire that service, please use YourMechanic’s cooling system flush service page. If no leak presently exists, merely changing the coolant will not "create" or uncover a leak. If a leak is present or develops in the future, the cost to repair can be quite varied and thus can be anywhere from quite nominal (in the case of having merely a loose hose clamp) to quite expensive if an aluminum cylinder head casting has cracked in an area around a coolant passageway. Most leaks, though, are simple and thus economical to repair. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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