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    Thread: Coolant Leaking but Not Overheating?

    1. #1
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      Coolant Leaking but Not Overheating?

      I've noticed the faint smell of coolant whenever I get out of my car. I can also smell it while idling with the windows down. I don't notice any smoke/steam, but it's strong enough to smell it.

      My vehicle is not overheating - the temperature gauge sits right where it always has - but something is leaking and forming a small puddle when I park for a few hours.

      The liquid that's leaking is clear. I've never put coolant in my vehicle, so I'm not sure if this is actually coolant. (Isn't coolant orange or green?) Also, I dipped my fingers in the fluid and smelled it, and it doesn't have that sweet/fishy smell that coolant has. It leaks from the middle of the area between the two front wheels, if that helps.

      Any ideas?

      2007 Aveo LS (sedan) with 170,200 miles



    2. #2
      What's wrong with my car?
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      I suggest looking at the heater hoses. One of them likely has developed a small leak that is dripping on the engine block and burning off before it hits the ground. Note these are hard to see without removing the starter or intake.

    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by saltatoria View Post
      I've noticed the faint smell of coolant whenever I get out of my car. I can also smell it while idling with the windows down. I don't notice any smoke/steam, but it's strong enough to smell it.

      My vehicle is not overheating - the temperature gauge sits right where it always has - but something is leaking and forming a small puddle when I park for a few hours.

      The liquid that's leaking is clear. I've never put coolant in my vehicle, so I'm not sure if this is actually coolant. (Isn't coolant orange or green?) Also, I dipped my fingers in the fluid and smelled it, and it doesn't have that sweet/fishy smell that coolant has. It leaks from the middle of the area between the two front wheels, if that helps.

      Any ideas?

      2007 Aveo LS (sedan) with 170,200 miles
      There are probably two separate issues here. The clear liquid with no smell that you are finding is probably water. If you were running the A/C at all, it's condensation from the drain for it. That's normal. It could also be from something else and you simply never noticed the puddle before. At any rate, if it doesn't smell like anti-freeze, it isn't coolant.

      But the fact that you smell coolant means you have a leak somewhere. I had a car once that had a head gasket that wasn't quite perfect. I never could find the coolant leak as it left no traces. The leak was very slight and it would take several months before seeing a drop in the level of the overflow bottle. Do try to find the leak, though. Start with the heater hoses, as suggested. If your situation is similar and you can't find the leak, simply add coolant to the proper level in the bottle and don't worry about it. Coolant is cheap. You won't overheat as long as there is adequate fluid in the cooling system.

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      Use a flourescent light to look for the leak. The coolant will show up better. Could be the heater core so check your floorboard under the mat but like the other guys have said check all hoses and possibly a head gasket blown. Check the smell of your exhaust and see if you smell a faint smell there.





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