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I have a heavy coolant smell in my car. Carpet is dry. Occasionally the car over heats. I have heat. What do I do?

2006 Chevy Malibu. Both fans turn on with a.c. running. Fan 1 seemed to stay running after I turned a.c. off. Over heats when I drive then come to a stop for a period of time. Does not overheat when I start it and let it run (tested up to 45-50 minutes). I have heat. No engine codes.

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Have the cooling system pressure tested and see where it is leaking.

Posted on Dec 31, 2016

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First things first get the carpet and pad pulled up and allow to dry. Is there a sunroof? Does the liquid smell sweet like coolant?

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The divider is generally not sealed at all, just a lump of metal reinforcement, the coolant may have pooled at the rear. The water will evaporate from the coolant mixture but the coolant will stay a long time so it'll have to be vacuumed out, add water and vacuum some more to pull it from the carpet and padding as much as possible. You can verify whether it's coolant or just rainwater by smelling the carpet. You may be nose blind to it by now from driving the car so have someone else sniff the carpet if you don't detect any coolant smell yourself. It'll also feel more slick than straight water if it's coolant so that's another way to ID the liquid. Option three is a cat or dog, they'll likely try to lick it if it's coolant but don't let it clean the carpet for you unless you dislike the animal.

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Thermostat potentially.
You could have a hole in a line allowing air into the system.
having the cooling system evacuated and then have the fluid forced back into the system should eliminate any air in the line. As long as there is not a hole in any of the lines.
Turning on the heat when the vehicle is overheating will cool it off, that only works for the short term.
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Someone else's code may not help you as the light could come on for a number of reasons. Smoke under your hood could be due to a leak or leaks such as oil, coolant, power steering fluid and so on and as the engine gets hot the fluids will burn off on the hot engine or exhaust causing it to smoke. The smell when you turn the heat on could be because your heater core is leaking. This would be accompanied with low coolant levels, overheating and low heat especially at idle also the carpet may be wet. If your vehicle is equipped with a cabin air filter the smell could also come from there as leaves and other debris and sometimes even rodents can get in there. Also if you don't allow you evaporator to dry by shutting off the ac but letting the fan run for a couple of minutes the water on the evaporator can cause mold and mildew to grow giving you a funny smell as well. Hope this helps.

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