Coolant Levels

I have a 2001 Saab 9-3 which I have owned for little over a year. I have had to fill the coolant 3 times. Any idea what could be wrong? I am not seeing any leaks but I know that it isn’t a quick leak. Any answers are greatly appreciated!

The cooling system is a closed loop pressurized system. Anytime the coolant level drops it indicates there’s a leak somewhere. The first thing to try is replace the radiator cap. If this fails to hold the proper pressure, coolant can escape the system as a vapor. If the radiator doesn’t have a pressure cap, then the coolant reservoir cap is the pressure cap.


I’d suggest starting by having the system pressure tested. If you are also having operating problems it may be wise to have a conpression leakdown test done o the cylinders.

3 yimes in one year is indicative of a suttle leak. It isn’t normal. It’s going somewhere, and there are only two possibilities; the outside world or the inside cylinders.

Good advice to have a pressure test done; could be a leaking water pump, hose, cap etc. If that turns up nothing, check the head gasket for an external leak – common on 4cyl. Saabs of this vintage. The head gasket can leak oil and/or coolant externally – small amounts at a time. I had a tough-to-find oil leak, which turned out to be the head gasket. Fortunately, I was able to retorque the head (see link) and for the price of a new valve cover gasket, and about an hour of my time, I was all set. Good luck!