Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Signs antifreeze is getting into your engine

With my bad headgasket on my ford taurus I am beginning to lose more antifreeze. If it is getting into the engine what are some signs I should be seeing? As of right now, I am getting no white smoke from my tailpipe or water dripping out. My oil stick is clear of anything but oil on it. My gas milage has not dropped and my engine is not running hotter then were it should be. The car starts without issue and the engine sounds smooth. What if any are other signs I can look for?

You can have the coolant checked for signs of combustion gasses. How long are you planning to ignore the bad head gasket before you repair it?

Sometimes the leak can be so small that you won’t notice it for awhile. You should get the headgasket replaced before it really damages your engine from severe overheating.

Bought the car with the bad headgasket last July, have put about 6200 miles on it since. ONly paid $450, not worth putting the $1200+ to put a new one on, just going to drive it till it dies, sell for scrap and go buy another $500 car, just wondered if there was something I was missing in keeping an eye on when AF is getting into the engine.

Just keep adding more coolant as needed. There isn’t much else you can do.

This really is the least expensive way to drive.

This really is the least expensive way to drive.

Agreed. In my area there are quite a few used car lots that will sell you this type of car whether you want one or not. You will be able to drive for a lifetime because the supply of cheap vehicles is nearly inexhaustible with “Check Engine” lights blazing.

Aside from the oil and tailpipe; if you’re burning it, the spark plug ceramic will often appear bright white- almost like it was sandblasted. One or two white plugs, with the rest normal looking, is almost a sure sign you’re burning coolant.

Indy, when you first got this car you we asking if it would last a few to 6 months? The answer was drive and see. Now you’ve gone past 6 months, but it is the same answer drive it and see. There is no formula here. If there is no coolant getting in the oil, then it has to be going out the tailpipe, or just leaking out onto the block. If coolant gets in the oil the breakdown of the motor is much faster.

Keep a gallon of 50/50 coolant mix in the trunk, keep the coolant bottle 1/2 full and just drive on. When it goes it will not be a sudden failure. You’ll get more smoke from somewhere, you’ll start to run on 5, then 4, and it might even run on 3 cylinders for a bit before the final trip to the junkyard.

You are on borrowed time with this car. Be happy it runs, and don’t worry. Just drive it.

Thanks, given this is my first head case, I wasn’t sure if the car would just stop or what. The only thing I have noticed that has changed is I am losing antifreeze faster now, but the dip stick is clean and I watched my tailpipe and there is no white smoke or water dripping out. I always keep a 50/50 in my car and check fluids on average every other day and watch the temp gauge like a hawk. The engine since the temps outside has gotten warmer I have noticed a slight increase in my engine temp, plus also battling a bad erg issue. But it still starts and runs.

Toss a bottle of AlumaSeal in the radiator and see if that slows things down.
It’s a cheap shot in the dark.