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Alero Radiator Problems

I recently drove my 1999 Olds Alero approximately 40 miles. After the drive, the car was idling and all of a sudden all of the coolant came rushing out of the overflow vent on my coolant reservoir. The reservior was completely empty. After filling it again to the proper level, the same thing happened after the car was left idling for 10 minutes. When I took it to the stealership, they stated that the only problem was that I had overfilled it with coolant, and then they went on to tell me about a more expensive problem with my car (this was expected). Any suggestions? Reminder: I am not intelligent.

I can’t figure out something that would connect all those events.

How much fluid came out? A quart, a couple of gallons? How much did you add? Was the engine cool when you added more coolant or was it still hot? When was the last time you looked the level or added coolant?

Want did the dealer say the more expensive problems was? (head gasket?

I am right in guessing you added the coolant to the see through plastic tank?

You are intelligent enough to ask a question when you don’t know the answer. That is far better than almost knowing the answer.

A thermostat that suddenly failed and is now stuck in the closed position could cause this type of problem.


First, thanks for helping. Second, it was probably about a quart that drained out. When I added coolant after it leaked/gushed out, I added enough to reach the “full when cold” line on the storage tank and yes I added it to the plastic tank because I can not find a radiator cap on the actual radiator. When I added it the engine was still hot, then I started it and let it idle. After about 5 minutes, it gushed out again. I checked the fluid levels approximately a week before the problem occurred. The dealer did not mention a head gasket. He stated a few large words and explained that further down the road, the problem could cause oil to get into the coolant. He also stated that the $1000 problem had nothing to do with the coolant flush. Again, thanks for taking the time for my problem.

Thanks for the reply. The more and more I hear people smarter than me talk about the problem I am having, the more and more I here people say its probably the thermostat.

Ii agree with Tester. Install a new thermostat and see what happens. A thermostat costs about $20. Much less than the $1,000 estimate from the dealer, which would indicate a head gasket problem, but there’s no evidence at this point to support that theory.

“Coolant flush,” which you obviously paid for, has nothing to do with the thermostat or the water pump, which is another possible (just barely) cause of your problem.