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Rv654321's avatar

Why is my car going through coolant so fast?

Asked by Rv654321 (228 points ) January 17th, 2011

I drive a 2001 Chevy tahoe. These last few months I have noticed that I have been having to refill the coolant fluid about every 2 weeks. Is this normal? I have checked for leaks and found nothing.

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11 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I had this problem last year and it turned out to be a faulty water pump that was sucking the coolant in. I’m a woman, don’t ask for the full explanation. lol

All I know is my coolant was disappearing at an alarming rate and after the water pump was replaced no issues for months now.

mrrich724's avatar

Sometimes when your car gets extremely hot, the coolant level can bubble and boil over. If you look in the coolant reservoir, you will notices a “spill-over” valve. You may wanna get it checked out, b/c either you have a leak (in very hot environments it’s not to uncommon for a radiator to develop cracks), or it’s running really hot and shooting coolant out of the reservoir.

koanhead's avatar

No, this is NOT normal. Strongly recommend you have your vehicle checked by a competent mechanic.

The coolant is meant to stay in the system for the most part. Using up lots of coolant can be sign of Very Bad Things going on (it isn’t necessarily, but it can be.)

If this is your primary vehicle, take it in. Do it today or tomorrow, do not delay. Early intervention might save you thousands of dollars in repairs.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

There is a leak. Have it checked. Probably leaking from the weep hole on the water pump. You would have to look from underneath too see it.

Rv654321's avatar

Thanks for the responses. Yea its going to the mechanic tomorrow for an oil change, Ill have hime check it out and get it fixed before it becomes a bigger problem.

revcanon's avatar

A bad water pump can cause coolant to leak from it as Russell mentioned.

filmfann's avatar

Ya, it’s the water pump. Soon it will leak a lot, fast.

jerv's avatar

I had an Aerostar like that, and it was the water pump. Now, I picked this van up for $250 and didn’t feel like putting any real work into it as it had quite a few other issues, so I just stuck a screw in the “weep hole” and carried lots of water with me. I was up to about a gallon of water every three miles before the block cracked a month later. (Thankfully as I was pulling into my driveway so I wasn’t stranded on the side of the road in an area with no cell coverage.)

I assume that you care about your Tahoe more than I cared about that Aerostar (and probably paid a lot more) so I would recommend getting your water pump checked. The alternatives are terminal.

While you are there, I would ask for a compression check just in case. I’ve blown a few head gaskets and cracked a couple of blocks in my day, and a compression test may find a problem before it kills your engine. If nothing else, running an engine with a faulty cooling system may have damaged something that you want to fix ASAP. It is quick, cheap, and can save a lot of headaches.

john65pennington's avatar

Do not want to be a bearer of bad news, but your problem could also be a crack in the engine block. when this happens, the coolant will leak into oil chamber of the engine and evaporate or be blown out the tailpipe of your vehicle. i had a police car that did this. i hope this is not your problem.

jerv's avatar

@john65pennington Well, if it isn’t, it may be soon. Put another way, the only thing it could be that is easy to fix and costs less than a grand is the water pump, and a bad water pump can lead to a cracked block.

sonataking05's avatar

There are a few possibilities. One is that there is a bad gasket be it the intake, water pump, or the dreaded head gasket. Check your oil and if you see a white frothy substance in the oil it could be one of the gaskets and I would have it looked at immediately and not drive it any more than necessary. The cooling system is a sealed system so the boiling point of the coolant is raised and if there are no visual puddles under the vehicle or in the engine bay then I would say there is a bad gasket somewhere.

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