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Hi there must be a cracked hose somewhere in the cooling system if its draining the radiator of water, i would also check the radiator side tanks as the plastic ones become brittle and small cracks appear that are quite hard to see
Hello and welcome to FixYa!
If the check engine lights appear occasionally then the engine surely needs diagnostic. I strongly suggest that you take it in to a reputable auto repair shop to have the engine scanned. This will show the trouble codes and by then you'll know what part to be replaced.
This is wiser than guessing on what parts to be replaced. Hope this helps and thank you for using FixYa! Have a good one!
hi the check light comes on when the computer detects a problem with the car either small or large, it is also an early warning that something is on its way out, i would drop into a garage and get them to read the fault code its usually cheap, quick and tells you exactly what is wrong before you start replacing things
There is a slow leak and the radiator is low on fluid
Let the vehicle cool down completely and then check the level in the radiator. I bet its pretty low. Top off the radiator with a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. start the vehicle and let it warm up with out the radiator cap on. Keep adding fluid as necessary. While waiting for it to warm up check around for any abvious coolant leaks. Things like hoses, radiator seams, water pump, water inlet/outlet gaskets. If no leaks are found it may be necessary to pressure test the cooling system and even then it might be a slow leak that only occurs when the vehicle is cold.
If the radiator is full than I would suspect that water pump is no longer working or creating enough flow. If the thermostat where stuck you would still get heat. If the water pump is not circulating coolant than you would get no heat and the car would overheat.
1. If the coolant level is fine - and low coolant level in your cooling system is not the problem - you need to investigate further.(see 2 below)
If the coolant level is low it needs to be topped up with the correct spec coolant and then the cooling system checked for leaks which could be faulty/worn hoses and/or a leaking radiator. If the car continues to overheat after running with the correct coolant level refer to 2 below.
2. If your coolant level is fine the entire cooling system needs to be flushed out and replaced with new coolant of the correct spec. ( If this has not been done for a couple of years it should be routinely carried out in any event every 2 years regardless of any problems).
Whilst this is being carried out the thermostat needs to be removed and checked. If it has not been recently replaced, a new one of the correct spec should be fitted. It is possible that the overheating is being caused by a sticking thermostat which is impeding coolant flow between the engine and the radiator once the engine warms up.
At the same time the water pump should be removed and inspected. If the pump has never been replaced or has not been replaced for many years it is on it's last legs. A faulty/corroded water pump will be unable to flow sufficient coolant through the engines cooling system from/to the radiator and the engine will overheat.
Any old or tired looking rubber hoses (radiator and heater hoses) should be replaced while this work is being carried out.
When the servicing is completed and the new coolant added, the system will need to be bled of air. If this is not done air in the system will impede coolant flow and the engine will overheat. The entire system should then be checked for leaks.
Do not operate your vehicle whilst you have this overheating problem except to get it to the nearest reputable auto service center. You can do very expensive damage to the engine if running it overheated .
Just because it was not hot to the touch, does not mean it is not a coolant loss problem----if the coolant is so low, there may not be enough to make the radiator hot (though usually the steam in the system will). ...a stuck thermostat can also let the engine overheat while the radiator remains cool (the fluid only circulates within the engine and is stopped from getting to the radiator. ...likewise a hose could have burst below and let the coolant out, over heating the engine, and the steam going out the ruptured/popped off hose; would look underneath.. ...when cool, check the level in the radiator (likely empty), ...and less than a mile away, may not have ever heated the radiator, though usually only a mile to heat up the coolant ...of course there is always sabotage ...and water pump failure, (so no water circulated) causing overheating and no radiator heat, and possibly enough pressure to blow off a hose, but usually the radiator cap relief spring would allow pressure to escape (and that steam would heat up the radiator on the way---but if only steam in the radiator, it would cool off quickly after venting, because no more water in the radiator to hold the heat. all depending on climate,temp and further details , symptoms.. hope helps..
Both head gaskets have to be replaced and the heads need to be resurfaced, be sure you go thru the torque specs and sequence correctly, it is a strange process, but has to be done. subaru puts out a product called cooling system conditioner, it's advised to install this.