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Coolant burns away in 98 Escort Coupe

If anyone has any good advice on this it’s appreciated! My 98 Ford Escort coupe isn’t leaking any coolant, but I always get the warning light to check it, and sure enough, it’s low. Took it to a chain mechanic store, they saw no leaks. I find no puddles when I check it after parking. It is a manual transmission and makes a lot of noise when I accelerate and some other noises that could be bad (I can’t really describe the sound other than puttering but too loudly? ) I was told that using the heater in cold weather runs out coolant, but it’s now spring and I still have the warning go on about once a month. Is this normal or am I overlooking something.

Did you remove the oil dipstick to check if the oil is contaminated with coolant?


Does the exhaust blow out white smoke? It could be a blown head gasket.

It sounds like coolant may be leaking into the combustion chamber or the oil. A mechanic could check this for you just by looking at the exhaust and the oil in the crankcase. Using the heater in cold weather should have no effect on the coolant level. Assuming you have nothing leaking inside the car and you don’t notice any greasy-like substance on the inside of the windshield, I doubt the passenger compartment heater/defroster has anything to do with it. This isn’t a problem for a chain store mechanic. Try to find an independent mechanic who specializes in Fords.

Using the heater will not use any coolant. It is not a consumable item, such as gasoline. It continually recirculates and the overall level should not change, though you will notice the recovery bottle under the hood will change its level depending on whether the engine is cold or hot. This is normal.

If you keep having to top it off, and you find no sign of a leak, I agree with the others that say you may have a failing head gasket.

Thanks for the responses: I am past late in getting back to this topic so I apologize for that. There is no coolant mixed in with the oil. I can’t recall seeing white smoke from the exhaust, but I’ll have to recheck. Nothing much has changed since my original post, but I will take the advice to go to an independent mechanic now that I have some money saved… thanks again!

I suspect the water pump.
They can leak intermittently, maybe only when going down the road.