Sonic coolant consumption

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#1
Make
Chevrolet
Model
Sonic
Year
2013
Miles
90,160
Engine
1.8L gas
I have a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic LT 4D sedan 1.8L with 90,000 miles on it. I bought it in July, 2015 and have put 33,000 trouble free miles on it since. I have kept up with the maintenance required. However, I'm concerned about the coolant consumption. After shutting car off after driving, I can smell coolant, especially if I open the hood, but can never see as much as a drip. No leaks anywhere. I filled the reservoir with the red or pink (whatever) like what was in it last August and now it's almost empty again. I've had this problem since I've owned the car. The car runs good, has never overheated since I've owned it, and the AC works great. Why am I smelling coolant and where could it be going? Can this get worse and cause me to park the car? Any ideas? Your input is much appreciated, thanks.
 
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#2
Of course it is supposed to be a "closed" system and not leak or be used up.

So since you smell it under the hood but do not see any leakage, it may be leaking onto the exhaust and burning off before hitting the ground. If not that then perhaps a head gasket leak and coolant is being burned off in the combustion chambers and exiting out the tailpipe. But since you smell it in the engine compartment let's hope it is the first scenario.

Does the engine oil look milky, indicating coolant in the oil?
 
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#3
No, the oil is clear to light brown, normal. It looks the same as the other cars. Definitely no water in the oil.
 
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#4
Of course it is supposed to be a "closed" system and not leak or be used up.

So since you smell it under the hood but do not see any leakage, it may be leaking onto the exhaust and burning off before hitting the ground. If not that then perhaps a head gasket leak and coolant is being burned off in the combustion chambers and exiting out the tailpipe. But since you smell it in the engine compartment let's hope it is the first scenario.

Does the engine oil look milky, indicating coolant in the oil?
No, the oil is clear to light brown, normal. It looks the same as the other cars. Definitely no water in the oil.
 
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#5
No, the oil is clear to light brown, normal. It looks the same as the other cars. Definitely no water in the oil.
Also, the car doesn't use a drop of oil. The level on the dipstick is always the same. I change it every 5k, full synthetic. Maybe a waste of money, but I like that oil and I hate to push it past 5k.
 

billr

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#6
Have you done a pressure-check of the "radiator" cap? How about a pressure-check of the cooling system while the engine is cold?
 
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#7
Great to hear oil is OK. Most of us here like synthetic also. A lot less expensive than an engine overhaul.

Bill's suggestion should be followed as a next logical step.
 

nickb2

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#11
As per billr's advice, call your local autozone if you have one close by to you, they should have a kit that looks like this to loan out, it should have the adapter you need for that sonic/korean thing. If not, google loan a tool programs near you.https://www.autozone.com/loan-a-too...powerbuilt-cooling-system-pressure/449951_0_0

Highly doubt the "warranty" that link referred to is good for the 1.8l. Not same engine design at all, have not seen anything for those korean bombs at all. Have seen plenty for the turbo, but not this engine. I personally don't like the car, but it is quite surprising the pep that little thing has. Basically just a revamped aveo. Those had same engine and trans, quite surprisingly, they fared well for the cold climate we have. Rust buckets all the same. I think michigan took up production in 2011 or so, however, I could be wrong on that one. I hope I am right, cuz michigan sure could use the work even though the power plants are made in south korea and shipped here.

I like the korean stuff somewhat, they should be good for 200k ish. Only I hate is, still a god damn timing belt when this should be a chain. Who still makes engines with timing belts? Korea.

I know I am talking nonsense now, my sciatic nerve is on the go, sucks for the weekend, but gives me time to write here. Had great fun yesterday at the dirt track, my bosses son won second place. It's the fastest track in canada supposedly. Video from last year on youtube, I know it is not american surpersize me stuff, but in canada, we just don't care. But that kid went right over the fence.
 
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#12
As per billr's advice, call your local autozone if you have one close by to you, they should have a kit that looks like this to loan out, it should have the adapter you need for that sonic/korean thing. If not, google loan a tool programs near you.https://www.autozone.com/loan-a-too...powerbuilt-cooling-system-pressure/449951_0_0

Highly doubt the "warranty" that link referred to is good for the 1.8l. Not same engine design at all, have not seen anything for those korean bombs at all. Have seen plenty for the turbo, but not this engine. I personally don't like the car, but it is quite surprising the pep that little thing has. Basically just a revamped aveo. Those had same engine and trans, quite surprisingly, they fared well for the cold climate we have. Rust buckets all the same. I think michigan took up production in 2011 or so, however, I could be wrong on that one. I hope I am right, cuz michigan sure could use the work even though the power plants are made in south korea and shipped here.

I like the korean stuff somewhat, they should be good for 200k ish. Only I hate is, still a god damn timing belt when this should be a chain. Who still makes engines with timing belts? Korea.

I know I am talking nonsense now, my sciatic nerve is on the go, sucks for the weekend, but gives me time to write here. Had great fun yesterday at the dirt track, my bosses son won second place. It's the fastest track in canada supposedly. Video from last year on youtube, I know it is not american surpersize me stuff, but in canada, we just don't care. But that kid went right over the fence.
It looks like the wing tore off
 
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#14
I just got back and left car running and looked all around the water outlet and water pump area for any signs of leaks with an inspection mirror and a good light. Nothing wet. But, I did find on the upper left hand side of radiator where the plastic tank is mounted to the core, a rust colored, gummy residue about 6" long top to bottom and maybe 1-2" wide. That's evidence of a leak or where a leak has been. Is that what Dex-cool does, is to get gummy like that? Just throwin that out there. I don't have any way of pressure checking it here.
 

billr

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#15
Looking for coolant leaks when the engine is hot is of limited use; the hot coolant "flashes" to vapor as soon as it leaks out and pressure on it is reduced. You have little chance to see leaks. Find a way to pressurize the system cold.