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What might be the long-term repercussions of

Two quarts of oil being poured into the radiator??

I’m looking into buying an old Volvo. I went by to check it out today, and the car’s pretty good. Only problem is, I stuck my finger into the coolant reservoir to check for oil or general funk, and pulled back a finger coated in pure Texas tea! Trust me, this isn’t a case of a bad head-gasket. If it is, it’s the worst ever in history. The father of the family theorizes that the young son-in-law tried his hand at checking the fluids, and this is the result: At least one to two qts of oil poured into the antifreeze.

The dad says he’ll flush the system, and call me back tomorrow for a test-drive.

In theory, I’m cool with that. I am definitely interested in the car, but considering the coating properties of motor oil, I’m a bit concerned that a simple flush will still leave the cooling system sub-par.

Anybody wanna share their 2 cents, by all means, do.

I would take this story with a grain of salt based on the father “theorizing” that the SIL may have done what is claimed.
Maybe the dad should have flushed the system and driven it around for a week before attempting to sell it and possibly not counting on your poking a finger into the resevoir.
So what now? He’ll flush it, show you it’s clean, and close the deal only to have the horrible truth surface again next week?

It could simply be old, sludged up coolant or it could be a leaking head gasket. If the transmission is an automatic it’s also possible this could be caused by a leaking transmission fluid cooler inside the radiator; which could mean a failed transmission in the near future.

No way would I buy this car without a compression check and a cooling system pressure test along with a careful inspection of the transmission fluid if it’s an automatic.

Thanks for that. Lord knows I’ve had run-ins with shady/dishonest sellers before. You know, you get a sixth sense for such people after a while. This guy and his family certainly stuck me as being on the up-and-up though. Still, you make a good point in that this problem- even if it was an honest mistake- could easily hide other problems (even if dude is unaware of them).

I’ll be thorough and take my time with the test-drive and rest of the inspection; and see abt getting the cooling system pressure tested on Monday. …How much does one of those cost anyway?

Your idea to have a mechanic to check it is good. There are still questions. Is the substance motor oil? Not all coolant is green, or orange/red. You could go to a Volvo parts department and have a look at Volvo coolant. What about the color of the automatic transmission fluid (if the car has an A/T)? If it is the same color, and is leaking into the coolant…