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Old 29-06-2017   #1
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coolant issue

My wife's fiat 500 showed the overheating light on the dash yesterday and the engine temp gage started going up to the max. We stopped and I added some water to the coolant reservoir and we drove 5 mins home.
When I checked the coolant level 2 months ago it was to the max and the water was an off colour which I guessed was the colour of the antifreeze. After yesterdays issue I tried topping up more water and I was very surprised that after pouring in 2 litres of water it was still taking more - I thought it would have taken far less before being full. This leaves me thinking there is a leak, although maybe I'm wrong and the capacity is more than 2 litres? Even if this is the case, surely the car should not have lost that much water over 2 months? Obviously, I should put an antifreeze/water mix in but if it's just leaking straight out then there's no point. I can't see a leak, so I'm not sure what to do and thought I could get some advice on here before taking it to a garage. Could it having too much water vs. antifreeze ratio in the coolant reservoir caused this issue?
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Old 29-06-2017   #2
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Re: coolant issue

Hi and welcome to the forum.

OK, so first things first antifreeze is also anti-corrosive, plain water will rust certain components and could well have caused a leak if it had already been topped up with a substantial amount of water. I'm pretty sure my Punto didn't take much more than 2l of coolant mix, so you definitely have a leak somewhere. However, it could be the kind of leak which is only present when the system is under pressure (ie. engine running) and the heat of the engine could be making the water evaporate before you can see where it's coming out.

I would suggest getting the cooling system pressure tested, any leaks repaired, then flushed out and refilled with a proper coolant mix.
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Old 29-06-2017   #3
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Re: coolant issue

Quote Originally Posted by red187eyes View Post
My wife's fiat 500 showed the overheating light on the dash yesterday and the engine temp gage started going up to the max. We stopped and I added some water to the coolant reservoir and we drove 5 mins home.
When I checked the coolant level 2 months ago it was to the max and the water was an off colour which I guessed was the colour of the antifreeze. After yesterdays issue I tried topping up more water and I was very surprised that after pouring in 2 litres of water it was still taking more - I thought it would have taken far less before being full. This leaves me thinking there is a leak, although maybe I'm wrong and the capacity is more than 2 litres? Even if this is the case, surely the car should not have lost that much water over 2 months? Obviously, I should put an antifreeze/water mix in but if it's just leaking straight out then there's no point. I can't see a leak, so I'm not sure what to do and thought I could get some advice on here before taking it to a garage. Could it having too much water vs. antifreeze ratio in the coolant reservoir caused this issue?

First antifreeze cools an engine better than water so the mixture must be correct as this can cause overheating if there is not the correct mix in the system. The common fault with the 500 is the slow fan resistor which is located on the right hand side of the radiator in the fan housing. If this slow speed resistor or the fast speed resistor stops working the vehicle will loose water as the fan will not cool the water system.
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Old 29-06-2017   #4
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Re: coolant issue

How old is the car? our 59 plate suffered the heater matrix (inside the car) failing(any strange smells in the car when on hot? feel the carpet under the central console), also the metal pipe that runs behind the exhaust manifold whilst not leaking I could/did put a screw driver through it. Next suspect the radiator? All are easy/cheap but time consuming to fix.
The thermostat housing is also a known failure point on the far right of the block.
Don't know the capacity but bank on 4L+

DON'T LEAVE IT low coolant/lack of, can destroy the engine!
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Last edited by John202020; 29-06-2017 at 20:07. Reason: More info
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