Car overheating and coolant leaking!

My boyfriend and I were driving a 2008 Chevy Malibu home last night (only a 30 minute highway drive) and when we finally pulled in to the parking lot, we smelled something and saw thin, white smoke coming from under the hood. After cooling for 2 hours, I saw the coolant was leaking out on the ground. Put more in and by this morning it was drained to low levels again. Help!!!

Riley , help how ? You have a leak some where so if you are not mechanically inclined then this vehicle needs to be towed to a shop. Overheating can destroy an engine in a very short time.


Any idea like where the leak could be coming from or how expensive the repair would be?

Of course not , the leak can’t be seen over the web and as for cost that will be determined by the repair shop.


Somewhere between the radiator cap $15 or the engine block $6000.

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Seriously . . . ?!

here’s some good advice

put the car on 4 jack stands

roll under the car on a creeper

with the engine off, look for dried coolant residue with a flashlight and a mirror

if you don’t see anything, top off the coolant level

start the car and let it idle . . . turn the ac OFF, otherwise you might mistake dripping condensation for coolant, many people make this mistake

use the creeper to roll under the car again

watch for dripping, using that mirror and flashlight

report back to us



I got it towed in, since I don’t have the tools. There’s a hole in the radiator from one of the props of the fan, which caused it to leak out. Any clue as to why one of the props broke off when we were driving?

“Any clue as to why one of the props broke off when we were driving?”

That could just be “stuff happens.” About 15 years ago I had one blade break off in an 45-yr-old home air conditioning unit. Two weeks ago our neighbors had a similar failure in their A/C unit. Metal can have flaws, or weaken with time and vibration. Stuff happens.

Or maybe there was an external cause, but I doubt that anybody can tell without seeing it.

I don’t have any idea why it broke off. We didn’t hit anything.

Well, the home A/C units didn’t hit anything, either. :smile:

By “external cause” I meant something like a bolt or bracket from something else coming loose and hitting the fan blade. (Possible but unlikely, I think, that it would not be noticeable.) In Tom Clancy’s “Hunt for Red October” there’s a great sequence where a cowling bolt (AIR) in a helicopter vibrates loose, strikes something else, which then breaks off something else, etc., etc., until the 'copter crashes. Having some career experience in failure analysis, I found Clancy’s sequence more than plausible, perhaps based on somebody’s real life experience.

Ask the repair shop if they can see any external cause. (Then the question becomes, “What made THAT happen?”)

And sorry for your misfortune. Hope the fix is not to expensive.