Engine Cooling problem
2000 Toyota Camry 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 117700 miles
I just bought a used Camry XLE V6, 3.0 yesterday. I didn't check the fluid levels before I bought it. I drove the car 150 miles back to my place. I opened the hood today and saw that the coolant was empty.
I did take it to Firestone yesterday before buying it. The mechanic told me that the tires needed changing but the vehicle was otherwise in great shape.
Do you think the mechanic would have told me if he had found the coolant to be empty? If so, do you think the coolant leaked and emptied during the 150 mile trip? If so, how should I proceed from here?
First thing you need to do is top up the coolant and bleed the system by running the engine with radiator cap OFF. When coolant level drops, top it up, continue until the coolant stabilises then close the rtadiator cap.
Is the recovery tank dry as well or only the radiator side is low?
If the recovery tank is low, then it might not be too bad and hopefully you have not damaged the head gaskets. Get a pressure test done to check for leakages and rectif accordingly.
If the recovery tank is full and only the radiator is empty, it could be bad news, the head gasket could be bad. Check if the radiator cap is bad.
The Firestone mechanic could have missed out checking the radiator or it was good and a leak occurred on the way resulting in the loss. A pressure test should confirm if there are any leakages.
August, 22, 2010 AT 10:41 AM
I have no idea about cars. And I don't know where to look for the recovery tank. Do you have a diagram that could help me locate these things that you are talking about?
August, 22, 2010 AT 11:01 AM
Sorry I could not find any diagrams to show you.
At the radiator cap, there is a hose coming out of the filler neck. Follow the hose and you would come to the recovery tank ( coolant reservoir).
August, 22, 2010 AT 12:15 PM
So let me explain to you what I see.
I see a white plastic (or some such translucent material) tank that says " coolant". It looks like a 2 gallon can of juice. The fluid in it is empty.
There is a hose that starts at the bottom of this tank that follows into something that has a cap, I opened the cap to find fluid at the top, so I assume that container has a full level of fluid in it.
So from what you said, I'm guessing I initially looked at the recovery tank (with " coolant" printed on it). So the recovery tank is probably the one that is empty. Am I right?
If that's the case, it probably just needs a refill? My wife tells me that it was empty at the time we saw the car initially. So its not a leak on the way here. Please let me know what you think. I apologize for the ignorance. I've never owned a car before (The first one I owned was bought a month ago but I sold it because I wasn't happy with it).
August, 22, 2010 AT 12:42 PM
The reservoir is empty and the radiator is full as per your decription
The recovery tank is also called the reservoir and has the words " Coolant" printed on it. It has a MIN and MAX line in at the sides. The coolant is meant to be between the 2 lines under normal circumstances.
Top up the coolant to the specified level and you are ready to go.
If the tank is dry, it usually points to a minor leak in the cooling system and usual places would be hose joints. Look out for signs of coolant leakages, they would be indicated by formation of white/reddish powder if the coolant used is Toyota original red colored.
August, 23, 2010 AT 3:30 PM
Thanks! That was very helpful. I have a new question: What tires would you recommend for a 2000 Camry XLE, V6 3.0, with 118K miles on it? I live in a place where the winters are quite extreme with a lot of snowfall. The summers are warm, sometimes humid, sometimes dry. I drive smooth, brake smooth (so the braking distance is slightly longer when I drive), and usually drive at constant speeds, not making huge accelerations/decelerations.
What's your opinion about the Firestone Affinity Touring P205/60R16 tires?
Reduced noise and all season handling is important as far as I'm concerned.
August, 24, 2010 AT 6:10 AM
Sorry I am located in a different continent so is unable to help you on this.
I am not familiar of the actual conditions over there and the tire that you mentioned is not found here so I am not able to comment.
Hope someone else who reads this can give you some idea.
August, 24, 2010 AT 7:01 AM
Thanks for all the excellent advice so far.
August, 24, 2010 AT 7:12 AM
You're welcome and glad to be of help.
Have a nice day.
August, 24, 2010 AT 3:56 PM
I have a question about something different. The seller told me that the CEL came on a few days before the sale. He took it to the dealer and got some code and the dealer told him that the code meant that he had to replace the charcoal canister. The dealer gave him a quote of $400 to do it but told him that it wouldn't be a problem even if he didn't change it. I have two questions: 1) Is it true that its not problematic not to replace the charcoal canister? What would you advise me to do?
2) Is the estimate of $400 a fair one? How much does a toyota part cost?