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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my daughter calls me from San Diego on Monday and tells me that she was doing her normal Monday checks on her car (oil, etc.) and there wasn't any coolant in the recovery tank. She never had that problem before and she was wondering what to do. I told her to take the cap off of the radiator if everything was cool and she did and couldn't see anything in the radiator. I told her to call the dealer for advise as they may want to investigate before anything was added to the system. She did and they sent a tow truck and they still have the car. They can't seem to figure out where all the coolant went. At least she's in the habit of checking things regularly. That's more than I can say for her mother, lol. Must be the Navy influence....
 

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not sure what HSH is (nor do i care), but disappearing coolant is not a good sign. did the car overheat or is that an unknown?

if the dealer can't figure out where the coolant has gone, they are dumb. find a new dealer or independent mechanic. this is not a hard thing to figure out.

coolant is either going out a leak somewhere in the system, or at worst case is going into the cylinders and burning through a blown head gasket or cracked head.

if white smoke has been noticed coming out the exhaust its blown HG or cracked head. anything else you've got a leaker. testing is dead easy which is why i say this dealer is dumb. fill it up again, and use a rad pressure tester. look for leaks and see if it holds. if it won't hold pressure but leak isn't apparent, put some UV reactive dye in and repeat test. look around with the UV light. failing that, the test is a simple compression test. leak-down test will answer the question as well. both of those are testing cylinder pressure. if there's a break in the HG or cracked head, you'll find it.

please note that when the coolant is run right down like that, the chances of severely overheating the engine are VERY high. my guess is your daughter was not looking at her temp gauge every now and then like a good little driver. sadly, most people don't. that means that the engine could have been badly overheated and will likely reduce its lifespan. it depends on how bad it was and what took the most damage, but a premature blown HG due to a warped head is entirely possible.
 

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Unnecessary Sarcasm Noted

HSH would be Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, a very common abbreviation used on this board by owners of the cars this whole Sonata sub-forum is about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
not sure what HSH is (nor do i care), but disappearing coolant is not a good sign. did the car overheat or is that an unknown?

if the dealer can't figure out where the coolant has gone, they are dumb. find a new dealer or independent mechanic. this is not a hard thing to figure out.

coolant is either going out a leak somewhere in the system, or at worst case is going into the cylinders and burning through a blown head gasket or cracked head.

if white smoke has been noticed coming out the exhaust its blown HG or cracked head. anything else you've got a leaker. testing is dead easy which is why i say this dealer is dumb. fill it up again, and use a rad pressure tester. look for leaks and see if it holds. if it won't hold pressure but leak isn't apparent, put some UV reactive dye in and repeat test. look around with the UV light. failing that, the test is a simple compression test. leak-down test will answer the question as well. both of those are testing cylinder pressure. if there's a break in the HG or cracked head, you'll find it.

please note that when the coolant is run right down like that, the chances of severely overheating the engine are VERY high. my guess is your daughter was not looking at her temp gauge every now and then like a good little driver. sadly, most people don't. that means that the engine could have been badly overheated and will likely reduce its lifespan. it depends on how bad it was and what took the most damage, but a premature blown HG due to a warped head is entirely possible.
The first thing that I asked her is if the car had over heated and she said no. Unlike most females, she is very observant when it comes to things like this. She's almost to the point of being obsessive about her car. She gets it naturally from her dad. :( After talking to her yesterday, there evidently was more coolant in the radiator than I was first led to believe. They did do the pressure check on the coolant system and found no problems. Everything else also checked out. They told her to keep a close eye on it for the next few days to see if it happens again. The car was in the body shop last week to finally fix the damage that was done to the front bumper when it was towed because of a battery issue right after she got it in May so maybe something happened while it was there for some reason. I've seen stranger things happen to cars when they were in body shops. At least it's documented with the service department if more comes of it.
 

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I have added distilled water in the recovery tank once since i have had the car. I only needed to add about two cups of water. I dont see this as a big deal. Every car I have owned I have had to add water to over time and I never had a major cooling problem.
 

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How old is the car? It could be that the factory didn't purge all of the air from the system and the dropping level was caused by that air leaving. If that is the case then once the system is refilled the level won't drop any more. When my car was new I added about a cup to a pint of coolant to the overflow as the level dropped over the first month or so, now it has not dropped any more for about a year.
 
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