After about a 5 mile drive my '05 6 cyl Santa Fe always smells hot. The temp gauge needle always stays mid point. Coolant is good and is changed regularly. No oil in coolant or coolant in oil. No cracks in recovery bottle or hoses. All hoses tight, has been pressure tested and is ok. No heater core leak, no visible leaks anywhere in the engine comparment or under the car and no green patches on the radiator. After about a week of driving the recovery bottle level is down about 3/4" but the radiator is full to the neck. Any ideas as where the coolant is going and how to locate the source? Thanks to all who offer suggestions.
I have no idea what it means to say that something “smells hot.” The car gets really hot so I can only presume you means that you smell things burning/evaporating. So if you want some ideas about the smell you’ll want to improve upon “hot” as a description of it.
As for coolant loss, really small amounts of loss are very difficult to pinpoint in terms of source. (Of course I don’t know how many miles are in your week so I assume your loss is slow). Your best bet is to just take it someplace to have the cooling system pressure tested. There are shops that specialize in auto HVAC/cooling systems/radiators - you might want to find one of those.
Usually when a car “smells hot”, it’s a small oil leak which is seeping onto the exhaust manifold or something else that gets very hot. I’d look for signs of an oil leak, such as stains in the driveway, oily residue on the engine, etc.
Another possibility is some rubber or plastic contacting some part of the exhaust system, or if you have a brake dragging slightly due to a failing caliper, that will get extremely hot and you may smell it. You would tend to notice this though with the car pulling one way while driving, then the other way when you hit the brakes.
Can you describe the smell better?
Tha car is driven about 200 miles per week. By “smells hot” I mean it smells like it’s on the verge of overheating. As I already stated, it has benn pressure tested (actually twice). The temp gauge never moves beyond about 1/8" to the cooler side of midway.
The hot smell is that of hot coolant. There are no oil leaks on the engine or under the car, and since the odor comes from the engine compartment, and the car tracks and brakes straight, I don’t think brakes are the problem.
Most likely it’ll have to grow before you find it, but grab an inspection mirror and start looking for…
if you have green ainti-freeze, and slighty green/brown-ish mark. It’ll look like what really hard water leaeves behind when it dries. I don’t know if I can describe it, sort of like a pile of dirt, but flat? man…
If your anti-freeze is pink, then it will appear slightly … brown, again, I think ours was.
We had a very slight fault with one of the plastic pieces that T’d three hoses together. It took quite a while for me to find it, and I only did because I was feeling around on every hose while it was running. It was hot, and it cost me some minor burns (nothing serious), but I finally found it, and our mysterious leak went away.
If you have a leak, be persistent, and check everything. It’s there…you just have to find it.