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If you are saying that it comes on now and then, and goes off, your may just need to add Anti-freeze/boil to the overflow tank. Does it come on when you're coming to a stop or going up or down a hill, if yes, add coolant to the overflow tank to bring it up to the correct level, not the radiator.
A small loss over a long period of time is acceptable, but constant refilling, indicates a leak either internally, with the coolant exiting through the exhaust, or one that you should see under your car occasionally. Sometimes you'll find your coolant leak in the floorboards if the heater core or hose leaks.
If your sensor comes on after driving a while & goes off as a result of adding coolant, then you'll probably need to pressure test the cooling system to identify where the coolant is going. Bad hose, seal, headgasket, head, etc.
Check the collant level in the coolant bottle. If low add coolant. If it is O.K, then you must have a bad coolant level sensor. It is located inside the bottle and is not serviceable, so you need another Coolant Bootle, and it cost about $60. Before replacing, I would try to remoce the coolant bottle and give it a good cleaning with hot water. You can replace it witha new one, or try the luck in a junk yard.
full is full. doesnt matter what fluid is in it but you should never mix the green stuff with dexcool (orange stuff). If the lights is still on then the sensor in the coolant bottle is defective or contaminated or your not full yet.
We were having problems with my son's 2004 Saturn Ion. The first thing that started flashing was the power steering warning, so fixed that by replacing the fuses. It kept flashing and then the coolant light came on and it wouldn't start. The battery was fine and well charged. We finally asked a friend who manages a vehicle service center for assistance. The Ion has a standard transmission and that was the problem. After only 15 minutes, they found the clutch switch was just a little loose. So they tightened it and the car popped right off and all the flashing warning lights disappeared. An easy fix but the car sat in our garage for 6 weeks as we couldn't find the solution!
I had the same problem. My 2004 Ion had 85000 miles on it. It was a bad sensor. The whole coolant reservoir tank needs to be replaced to fix the problem. This was covered under the extended warranty that we had. If you are doing this repair yourself, a hose clamp tool is recommended for simplicity.
I have a 2005 Ion that had been displaying the "coolant" message for quite some time. The car runs perfectly, never overheats and the coolant bottle is always full to the "cold fill level" line when cold and slightly higher than that when hot due to the expansion of the fluid. (all completely normal) I had a strong feeling that the coolant level sensor in the coolant bottle was bad and had read about how it needed to be replaced by a tech and all but I wonderred if there was a way to defeat the sensor since I check my levels all the time anyway because the sensor was really just giving false info anyway. I couldn't find a tread involving a Saturn that talked about a solution other than having a tech charge me lots of money to replace the whole bottle. I found a way to bypass the sensor for a BMW though and thought I would try it. It worked perfectly. I plan on replacing the bottle eventually but right now money is tight and I don't need the sensor to tell me what my own eyes and my car's temperature gauge can tell me for now. Here's how you do it.
1. Unplug the sensor harness from the bottom of the coolant bottle.
2. Find a large paper clip and use needle nose plyers to make a "staple" shaped jumper that is about 1/4 inch wide (about the distance between the two contacts on the harness) and about 3/8 inch long.
3. push the jumper you just made into the end of the harness connector.
4. Start your car and ensure that the warning is no longer displaying. You can also insert the jumper while the car is running (be careful, the coolant bottle will be hot) because the harness is removed from the sensor the coolant warning should already be displayed. When you insert the jumper the message should go away imediately. The coolant level sensor has only one job and that is to tell the computer when coolant is low so you don't have to worry that you may be causing any other problems by doing this. If the coolant light doesn't go away you may have a break in the wire somwhere or a bad connection to the jumper.
5. If all works well, use electrical tape to seal up the end of the harness so moisture doesn't get in. Also it's a good idea to secure the harness to something nearby so that it doesn't flop around when you are driving.
All done. Sorry this was long but I hope that it helps someone. That warning really has been irritating me.
Keep in mind that this method does disable a key safety device that is designed (poorly) to warn you in the even of a coolant leak. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge and check your coolant level regularly. Get the bottle replaced when you can.