subtle coolant smell after commute - Club Crosstrek | Subaru XV Crosstrek Forums
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Old 08-10-2016, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default subtle coolant smell after commute

periodically I notice a subtle coolant smell, usually after my hour drive to work. normally I smell it on the passenger side when I go to pull my bags out of the car. nothing shows up on the ground.

anyone had similar issues?

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Old 08-10-2016, 06:35 PM   #2
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I don't have this issue myself but it sounds to me that either a hose connected to the heater core or the heater core itself is leaking.
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Old 08-11-2016, 12:55 PM   #3
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makes sense. I'll take a look. thx
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Old 08-12-2016, 12:26 AM   #4
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Default Heater core

I once had a heater core go out on my first car (88 Mazda 323 hatchback). Middle of winter, heater was on full blast and I was on the highway. Windshield instantly fogged over and the floor board of the passenger side flooded with coolant.
And I was stuck on the side of the road.
My opinion is as mentioned above that you may have a loose hose connection to your heater core, a failed heater core, or leaking hose or fitting.
Of course it is summer so I would imagine you aren't running your heater and that's why your issue is not as pronounced then the smell. I would do the following.
1. Warm up the engine to operating temp and then turn the heater on and inspect under the dash on the passenger side with engine running. Look where the interior carpet ends and see if you have even a slight drip from somewhere.
2. Check your coolant reservoir in the engine compartment for proper level based on a hot or cold engine. With an hour commute to work I'd imagine you fill up regularly on gas, great time to check the level to see if over time it is dropping.
3. If you aren't using the heater now and your experiencing this, using the heater may amplify the problem... if you are concerned about it a reputable mechanic should be able to conduct a pressure test on your coolant system. They should be abe to verif your system has no leaks by doing a leak down test. As long as you don't have an issue it shouldn't cost much for the piece of mind as I am sure being stranded on the side of the road on an hour commute would not be enjoyable.

I have to add, this is one reason I really wish subaru had added that coolant temp gauge.

Hope your able to find your problem and with some luck it's a very quick and painless fix.

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Old 08-12-2016, 01:04 AM   #5
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I obviously agree about the temp gauge. I think I may buy some coolant from Subaru, just to keep in the garage. I also agree that you should rule out any mechanical issues. Don't know if your car is still under warranty or if you mentioned the year. At the very least, you should be able to visually inspect the level in bottle. Hopefully you are okay.


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Old 08-12-2016, 01:56 AM   #6
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thx all. coolant level is below the low line. so something is up. it's a 2013 with 61k, so out of warranty.

I do have a reputable subie mechanic here in Frederick, Md. so I"ll give him a call and talk to him and make an appointment.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:58 PM   #7
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I have had this for 50k miles. Can never find evidence of a leak. Dealer and I both have acknowledged the smell. My coolant level does go down but on par with normal evaporation levels.

Mine is concentrated just where the CVT cooler is located on the passenger side of the motor just under the rear intake runner. It must be something to do with the CVT cooler hoses or fittings. Well at least I hope.
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Old 08-15-2016, 02:58 PM   #8
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Just because it is below the low line doesn't mean there is a problem. When the engine is cold the level should be at the low line and rise to the full line when at operating temp.

Coolant has water in it therefore it will naturally evaporate. Over time the level will go down do to this.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLEMMER View Post
Just because it is below the low line doesn't mean there is a problem. When the engine is cold the level should be at the low line and rise to the full line when at operating temp.
Not quite. As long as there is enough coolant in the reservoir to cover the hose, when the engine is cool, you are okay .... but, you should refill the reservoir. You should check this often as it does evaporate. Always try to maintain the reservoir level at the full mark with the engine is cold. The reservoir capacity above that mark to the cap is for expansion (not the area between low and full).

Per the manual:

1. Check the coolant level on the outside of the reservoir while the engine is cool.

2. If the level is close to or lower than the “LOW” level mark, add coolant up to the “FULL” level mark.
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:59 AM   #10
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Default subtle coolant smell after commute

I have recently began to smell antifreeze periodically. I have 4 k on my car. I bought a bottle of super coolant previously. I recently added about an inch of coolant to the reservoir to bring it up to level. I also think it could be from normal evaporation. It's really important to maintain the coolant level. I used to have my system flushed about every 2 years with other vehicles. I think it's as important as oil in a sense. We have no option in required coolant, but at least we don't have the synthetic oil debate going with this situation. I believe our recommended service time for super coolant is 7 years.


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