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2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser overheats sometimes

Hi guys. My car (a 2005 PT Cruiser) is overheating at times, and then other times it’s perfectly fine. When it overheats, the fluid reservoir is bone dry, when it’s not overheating there is fluid in there. There is definitely no leak in the radiator.

What gives??? --Brooklyn

Are you claiming that your car overheats and the coolant reservoir is bone dry and then you don’t add any fluid, but the next time you drive it there is fluid and it doesn’t overheat? Pretty much impossible.

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No. Um, when it overheats, fluid is gone. When it’s not overheating fluid stays put. No leak in the radiator at all. So when it overheats, where is the fluid going?

Head gasket might be breached in which case you’re burning the coolant. Have you noticed any white smoke coming out of the tail pipe? Are you trying to fix this yourself or were you going to take it to a mechanic?

You are still not telling us if you added fluid to bring the level back up. Cannot diagnose without that info.

There is a coolant leak, after enough coolant is lost the engine will overheat, don’t let the radiator or reservoir become empty. Inspect the engine and water pump for leaks.

Head gasket leak sounds possible. One way to test is to take off the radiator cap (only when engine is cool!) and start the engine. Let it warm up and give some gas. If there are bubbles at the filler neck, that’s probably exhaust gas - that usually means leaking head gasket, sometime worse as in cracked head or cracked block.

While you are doing this test be sure to collect any coolant that spills and dispose of it properly so animals are not poisoned by it.