Altima'02: Loosing coolant

We purchased a 2002 Altima with 100K miles couple of years back in IL. After about 9 months of use there, we moved to CA last Jan. Car has been driven about 11K miles since the purchase & recently we found got a check engine light. The code reader indicated engine overheat. On checking, the coolant reservoir was empty. I started refilling it frequently & in a week or so the check-engine light was reset. I was able to manage driving meantime as my commute is 4-5 miles!

The nearby Goodyear tire service-shop did some trouble-shooting of the leak and deduced that the radiator was leaking at seams. Had the radiator along with upper & lower hoses replaced at another AAA-approved shop. A couple of days & longer drive later, I found the reservoir drained again! The thermostat has been staying just shy of the center mark after the warm-up ever since I started paying attention (after interpreting the code).

Any other advice before I take the car to a more expensive shop this time?

Thank you.

You need he cooling system pressure tested, to determine where the leak is. Since the car overheated on you, and the coolant was not checked for 11,000 miles appaerrnently, until the light came on, this may be a bad head gasket. The test will tell. For this I would avoid a Goodyear store, even one that’s AAA approved. Your best bet is a speciaty shop for cooling systems and air conditioning.

I would not drive the car until an accurate diagnoses has been made. I would also prepare for the cost of a head gasket replacement ($1000-$1500), should that be necessatry. If you’re lucky it could be a water pump seal leak, or the reservoir itself is leaking.

Good luck!