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My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate - Car Talk - Nairaland

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My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by pannyman(m): 8:28pm On Oct 10, 2010
I drive a 1999 Toyota Camry, V6. A great and truly reliable car. I however noticed about 3 weeks ago one morning that the plastic container that contains the radiator coolant was completely empty. This was rather odd because usually it only depletes at a very slow rate and I used to top it with water like once a month. When I found it empty I topped it with water and later in the evening on my way from work I stopped over at a filling station and bought coolant, drained the little water left in the plastic container and filled it with coolant. Two days later I discovered it was empty again! Very unusual, so I bought coolant and filled up again.

Two days later the coolant dried up and the radiator was short of fluid. I looked everywhere under the bonnet for sign of leakage but there was none. It would have been easy to locate a source of leakage because of the blue colour of the coolant. I took it to the mechanic and he opened the hoses connected to the radiator and bled the fluid and filled the radiator. He was not sure whether it was the thermostat or water pump that is the problem. He asked me to observe it for a while and see whether the problem would persist. The problem has persisted and I have to top up the radiator everyday, old-school style and it's embarrassing. I have a suspicion the water is leaking into the engine.

Please guys, if any of you has experienced this kind of wahala, kindly share your experience and how you overcame it. I intend to take the car back to the mechanic next weekend, but not before my great Nairalanders have given me a clue as to what is causing this loss of water.

PS. The temperature guage does not indicate abnormal temperature or overheating.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by MrPrsdent(m): 8:33pm On Oct 10, 2010
replace your radiator
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by viperman: 8:38pm On Oct 10, 2010
Your radiator.
Replace it.
For the 199 camry its not more than N16k
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by MrPrsdent(m): 8:40pm On Oct 10, 2010
Failure to replace the radiator ASAP would resort to damaged valves and head. Radiators tend to last about 150,000 kilos. Phosphate scale and leaking seams cut their life short.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by chelseabmw(m): 9:31pm On Oct 10, 2010
MrPrsdent:

Failure to replace the radiator ASAP would resort to damaged valves and head. Radiators tend to last about 150,000 kilos. Phosphate scale and leaking seams cut their life short.

Seconded
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by pannyman(m): 9:34pm On Oct 10, 2010
Bad radiator?? But I suppose a bad radiator should be leaking coolant. There is no sign of a leak on the radiator. Remember, the coolant is actually green in colour and a leak would we easy to spot on the ground under the car.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by saleesu: 10:25pm On Oct 10, 2010
@ Poster, Check the hoses leading from the radiator to the engine for leakage. ensure that the end of the hose have clips and well tied. That could be the reason why ur experiencing water shortage.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by Siena(m): 10:40pm On Oct 10, 2010
People are telling Pannyman to replace the radiator, when there's no sign of a leak. Why? If it's losing coolant that fast, it would be visible. Trial and error fitting of parts is expensive, and should not be encouraged.

I too think it's leaking into the engine, which would indicate a blown head gasket or cracked cylinder head.

Modern cars have sealed cooling systems, you should not have to top up your coolant between services. My coolant has been in my car for 11 months, and hasn't dropped. I'd advice a sniffer test is carried out, to check for the presence of hydro carbons in the coolant, and a leak-down test should follow. Your mechanic should know what that means.

Let's know how you get on, and best of luck.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by Onwan: 10:46pm On Oct 10, 2010
Definately a leak somewhere. It must have been there all this while BUT got worse now and thats why the draining is rapid.

I'll suggest you go for a test on the cooling system, from hose to radiator. You might want to run the car without AC on your own so you can see the coolant dropping off and not mistake it for the AC water.

And your temperature guage too.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by pannyman(m): 7:48am On Oct 11, 2010
Thanks all for your replies.

@ Siena, if the fault is found to be a cracked cylinder or blown gasket, how expensive would it be to repair? Hope I would not need to replace the engine.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by bigspif(m): 8:41am On Oct 11, 2010
To the house,

Please what do you think might be the problem with my 406 (2002 model), its bringing out smoke when i start it in the morning (not black smoke sha). What do i need to also do cos its backfiring it a bit before it reeves up.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by dantitiki(m): 9:26am On Oct 11, 2010
@bigspif
if your car is misfiring and revving up on it's own, then there should be carbon build up in your engine. you'll need to scan your car to know the line which is blocked.

@pannyman
if there's no outward leakage, then there would be an inward leakage somehow. Have you checked your oils for traces?
A cracked cylinder would need change, but a burnt gasket is a part replacement.

Kind regards.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by Almuhandis: 12:47pm On Oct 11, 2010
cool water leaking in to the engine? men thats scary oooo
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by kuntash: 1:01pm On Oct 11, 2010
@ poster,

- if the radiator isnt leaking, check ur oil level and quality to make sure water isnt there.

- if ^ is OK, turn attention to ur interior, check whether there's a leak from d heater core to ur rug etc,

these are where u should check, the way that car is designed, if you are a care-free person, the rug could be under over 30 litres of water without u observing it, courtesy - "Leaking heat core"

1 Like

Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by mecussey(m): 4:12pm On Oct 11, 2010
Unfortunately, auto mechanics are not around and our so called mechanical engineers have no experience like me, lol; but I have driven a lot of gwura gwura, so I have small experience.

First of all, the water might be leaking into the engine block; you may have to check/change the top cylinder gasket. You can verify this by checking the density of the engine oil frequently. If the the engine oil is no longer black, then that is the case, otherwise visit a different machinist. The top cylinder gasket burns when the car is driven on empty radiator or over heat.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by Purplediamond(f): 4:28pm On Oct 11, 2010
just checking out something
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by jdiadem: 4:39pm On Oct 11, 2010
check the water in the radiator, any trace of oil in it indicates a blown gasket to be replaced.
also check the radiator cover, the major culprit. just change it and observe it costs only about 300naira.
changing radiator will not solve the prolem, it's always almost the cover

1 Like

Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by zionic(m): 4:41pm On Oct 11, 2010
sELL IT AND BUY kEKE cool
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by TMoni1(m): 4:42pm On Oct 11, 2010
Before you do anything at all,

I have had just the same experience like you, there is nothing i didnt check even the mechanic couldnt figure it out. until i did figure it out myself.

First change your RADIATOR COVER

Here is the deal, when the engine is hot the water is at boiling point and if your radiator is not tightly covered the water will evaporate in bits, so change the radiator cover and check the hose that leads to the coolant tank for leaks.

hope this helps.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by jaybee3(m): 4:44pm On Oct 11, 2010
Most certainly the radiator.
Just do a pressure test to confirm this.
I had a similar problem with a celica VVTI last year (no obvious leak) until i had a pressure test done and subsequently changed the radiator
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by rosejen(f): 4:55pm On Oct 11, 2010
@ Pannyman,

i have experienced such in my car few months back, i took it to a mechanic and they said the Radiator was dirty, they opened the radiator, cleaned it and everything became normal again, i can stay for a month without checking my radiator.

[b][/b]SIMPLY YOUR RADIATOR IS DIRTY AND BECAUSE OF THAT THE WATER BOILS AT A VERY HIGH TEMPERATURE WHICH DRAINS IT EVEN MORE, THUS MAKING YOU TO TOP WATER ALMOST EVERYDAY. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR RADIATOR, JUST WASH IT.

thank you
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by rosejen(f): 4:58pm On Oct 11, 2010
i use same Camry 1999 as you.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by kabukabu50(m): 5:35pm On Oct 11, 2010
rosejen:

@ Pannyman,

i have experienced such in my car few months back, i took it to a mechanic and they said the Radiator was dirty, they opened the radiator, cleaned it and everything became normal again, i can stay for a month without checking my radiator.

[b][/b]SIMPLY YOUR RADIATOR IS DIRTY AND BECAUSE OF THAT THE WATER BOILS AT A VERY HIGH TEMPERATURE WHICH DRAINS IT EVEN MORE, THUS MAKING YOU TO TOP WATER ALMOST EVERYDAY. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR RADIATOR, JUST WASH IT.

thank you

LOL wash it shocked shocked :oHAHAHAHA.

Your radiator may have a tiny leak,you may have some worn hoses with splits,thermostat could be bad.Water Pump maybe.But pls dont top off with just water, like this tool says, always mix with equal levels of coolant grin grin
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by kabukabu50(m): 5:38pm On Oct 11, 2010
Well since your tech has examined both the hoses and the radiator,its probably your water pump, thermostat would not cause you to lose coolant.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by chrome: 6:24pm On Oct 11, 2010
hi house.
ve same model of camry but it gulping fuel of late.and i think revs itself despite tunning it down b4
appreciate all responses
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by kpofkpof(f): 6:52pm On Oct 11, 2010
i had the same problem with my car (Honda Accord).

i changed the radiator still, it was consuming water, until someone told me to tale it to the mechanic, they had to set the valve,m and since then i havent experienced that trouble again
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by symbianDON(m): 6:53pm On Oct 11, 2010
chrome:

hi house.
ve same model of camry but it gulping fuel of late.and i think revs itself despite tunning it down b4
appreciate all responses
check that the temperature sensor connected at the base of the radiator is connected and functioning properly.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by symbianDON(m): 6:57pm On Oct 11, 2010
i am so lucky to be on this thread. i am currently experiencing the same problem with the same car. i just changed my radiator to a double cell one prior to this experience. there's no apparent leak anywhere and the car drives great. temperature guage doesn't indicate abnormal temperatures and engine oil is normal in colour. funnily, on long trips the water level remains normal but during normal city drives the water level drops daily. also, it appears that the radiator water doesn't really deplete but the water in the reservoir does!
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by fm7070: 7:03pm On Oct 11, 2010
most people just recommend without asking question. If una be doctors, na soso surgery ooooooooooo.
Firstly, you have to confirm if the radiator is leaking or not.
If the radiator is leaking, it can still be fixed, except if it has gone totally bad or if the leakage cannot be corrected.

Secondly, If your radiator is not leaking, then, there might be gap between your gasket and the cylinder, in that case, you will need to buy another gasket. the gasket can be doubled if necessary to reduce damaging consequecies of overheating on your engine.

Thirdly, the cylinder head might have cracked somewhere. This is a rear case if your car don't overheat so often.

Finally, you can contact any good and reliable automobile technician, but this is to give you idea of what might have happened to your engine. Don't panic, you car is a good car, reliable one as well.

Good luck as you drive safe.
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by ehie007(m): 7:18pm On Oct 11, 2010
nice thread, i drive a 2003 kia rio, i noticed recently that when i drive the engine gets hot to easily, the radiator fan is working very well, i drained the water in the radiator and added the coolant, all seem ok, but when ever i put on the AC after sometime the thermometer starts to go up to the point of over heating,,,when i turn off the AC the engine cools down a bit and the thermometer goes back to the half gage, anyone wiv idea on what i should do,
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by Ranoscky(m): 7:39pm On Oct 11, 2010
zionic:

sELL IT AND BUY kEKE cool

may God help you !!! grin
Re: My Car Is Consuming Water At A Rapid Rate by femionasan(m): 7:48pm On Oct 11, 2010
I currently have the same issues with my Nissan Maxima 2001 model. The water was being topped up every 3 days and gradually it got to everyday. Some mechanic said i should change the radiator but luckily for me i didnt take his advice until i noticed that there was coolant dripping from under the engine which wasnt there before. I actually thought it was the water from the air conditioning it was actually the water pump. I strongly beleive its the water pump cos i was topping up the water all the time. Look closely at the water pump.

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