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Old 05-18-2010, 04:22 PM   #1
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Default Help: low coolant light on when start, off after a while

2000 Buick Century, 68000 miles.

Every time I start the engine (from cold status), the low coolant light is on. The light will be off after a couple of minutes as the engine goes warm. (Note: I've added enough coolant when the engine is cold).

One mechanics says "intake manifold gasket leaking" is a possible reason. This will cost a lot for replacement and repair ... (I'm not sure if he knew that the light will be off after the engine is warm).

Any suggestion on my Buick? I'm a student so I really hope my car does not need any major repair ...

Thanks!

Last edited by echostate; 05-18-2010 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by echostate View Post
2000 Buick Century, 68000 miles.

Every time I start the engine (from cold status), the low coolant light is on. The light will be off after a couple of minutes as the engine goes warm.

One mechanics says "intake manifold gasket leaking" is a possible reason. This will cost a lot for replacement and repair ... (I'm not sure if he knew that the light will be off after the engine is warm).

Any suggestion on my Buick? I'm a student so I really hope my car does not need any major repair ...

Thanks!
I've done the job about 4 times, and its fairly simple and straightforward if you're willing to do it yourself.

What is the coolant level like? Does your temperature fluctuate a lot? Pop the radiator cap and see if there'* any fluid showing in there. If not, fill it up and see what happens.

Have you checked your oil lately? What color is the oil? Make sure the oil isn't a creme or chocolate milk color. It should be clear, though dark if its old.

Head over to your nearest auto store and have them scan the car. They'll plug in a scan tool, scan the car for engine codes, and they'll tell you what code is throwing that service engine soon. Its a free scan and any auto store will do it for you. Come back here afterward and let us know what that code was.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by xtremerevolution View Post
I've done the job about 4 times, and its fairly simple and straightforward if you're willing to do it yourself.

What is the coolant level like? Does your temperature fluctuate a lot? Pop the radiator cap and see if there'* any fluid showing in there. If not, fill it up and see what happens.

Have you checked your oil lately? What color is the oil? Make sure the oil isn't a creme or chocolate milk color. It should be clear, though dark if its old.

Head over to your nearest auto store and have them scan the car. They'll plug in a scan tool, scan the car for engine codes, and they'll tell you what code is throwing that service engine soon. Its a free scan and any auto store will do it for you. Come back here afterward and let us know what that code was.

Thanks for reply!

The engine work perfectly fine, and the temperature is stable when driving.

The coolant level is ok (the coolant tank, not the radiator). Actually I added a little more than enough (when the engine is cold), so the coolant level should be high enough. But as you suggest, I'll check the radiator ... hopefully this will work.

I recently changed the engine oil, but the low coolant light problem is still there.

I checked with one auto store, as i mentioned, he said "intake manifold gasket leaking", which needs at least 5/6 hours labor and parts replacement ...

I am thinking if this is just a sensor problem, or any other small problem?

Last edited by echostate; 05-18-2010 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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This happened to me, My fluid was at all the right levels but the coolant was too old started to gunk up, the sensor wasn't working right.

One coolant flush and it'* been fine since.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:08 PM   #5
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This happened to me, My fluid was at all the right levels but the coolant was too old started to gunk up, the sensor wasn't working right.

One coolant flush and it'* been fine since.
I too have heard of coolant gunking up, but not at 68k.

Then again, the car is 10 years old.

Check to see if there is any gunk at the bottom of the radiator cap.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:16 PM   #6
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Not at 68K?

I know 2006 Montes that were gunked up at 30K and replacing a water pump because it was so bad. I flush my dex-cool almost yearly, at the most I'll let it sit 2 years and it'* still not looking very nice after that.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:21 PM   #7
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Is this a supercharged engine, or a NA engine? If NA, remove the throttle body and look at the EGR hole, do you see coolant there? Check to make sure the sensor is working and plugged in. Check for corrosion on the plug.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:52 PM   #8
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Not at 68K?

I know 2006 Montes that were gunked up at 30K and replacing a water pump because it was so bad. I flush my dex-cool almost yearly, at the most I'll let it sit 2 years and it'* still not looking very nice after that.
Wow. Isn't that crap supposed to be 100k mile fluid? My sister in law'* 96 Regal has Dexcool, and it was slightly gunked up but not horribly by 115k. I still changed the fluid.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:53 PM   #9
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If air gets in to the cooling system it will gunk up. If it'* topped of with something other the DEX it will sludge up.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:29 PM   #10
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If air gets in to the cooling system it will gunk up. If it'* topped of with something other the DEX it will sludge up.
That I know for a fact. I remember reading the biggest reason for it gunking up on people was the use of non distilled water as a diluting agent, but having not had any of those problems, I can only speculate.
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