QUESTION: I am
the original owner of a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup with the
5300 V-8 gas engine. After driving it, there is a distinct smell of
antifreeze when you are outside the vehicle. There are no apparent
leaks and the fluid level remains fairly stable. I have had it
checked but nothing was found. It has gotten worse the last few
months. Any ideas on how to proceed?
the simple stuff first. Is the radiator cap sealing and holding
pressure? Is the heater core leaking coolant onto the floor of the
passenger compartment? Is coolant weeping from the bottom of the
Check the oil
on the dipstick carefully. Is there any evidence or odor of
antifreeze? Has the level on the dipstick increased? The primary
mechanical danger from coolant leaks, beyond the potential for
overheating, is the coolant reaching and contaminating the engine
oil. Ethylene glycol doesnít lubricate well, and itís corrosive
to aluminum pistons. It tends to strip oil from cylinder walls and
bearings, leaving these components exposed to wear and damage.
internal leaks, pressure-test the cooling system and/or have the
coolant chemically checked for the presence of hydrocarbons from the
combustion chamber. Head-gasket leaks or cracked cylinders are the
types of problems that can kill an engine.
A coolant leak
from the throttle body/intake manifold gasket could allow coolant to
be drawn into the combustion chambers and burned, leaving little or
no evidence. But it wonít do the pistons or cylinders any good.
technical service bulletin 06-06-01-019B, dated June 2007, that
identifies a possible coolant leak into the oil from seepage from
casting faults in specific cylinder heads manufactured by Castech.
Remove the valve covers, check for the Castech casting logo and
inspect the oil drain back holes for clean, shiny areas indicating
evidence of coolant leakage. If this is the issue, the bulletin
calls for replacing the cylinder head(s).
Q: Recently my
daughterís friend bumped into my 1996 Dodge Dakota and did $1,200
worth of damage. I promised my family and the body shop I would get
it fixed. Some people say I should just keep the money. Is that
legal? Or just unethical? Or neither?
A: I donít
think this is a question of legality or ethics; itís a question of
what you want. Do you want your vehicle repaired? Or if itís fully
functional and not damaged to the point of being unsafe or illegal
to drive, are you OK driving a 17-year-old truck with damage? Itís
your truck, and the other party is responsible for the cost of
repair, but itís your call on whether you have the vehicle fixed.
With that said, a promise is a promise.
unrepaired vehicle may no longer be eligible for collision insurance
on your policy due to the damage and decreased value. But with the
age and value of your truck, collision coverage wouldnít be
Q: We have a
2005 Chevy Tahoe. The last couple months the speedometer is
sticking. Sometimes when I start the vehicle in park, it might read
50 miles per hour. When I start driving it will go up from there.
Other times it starts at zero then sticks at 55. Any suggestions?
your Chevrolet dealer, provide the vehicle identification number of
your Tahoe and ask if GMís "07187C ó Special Coverage
Adjustment ó Instrument Panel Cluster Gauge Needle Function"
covers or applies to your vehicle.
identifies a potential issue with instrument cluster needles
sticking on a number of 2003-2005 GM trucks and SUVs. The
"special coverage adjustment" covers replacing the
instrument cluster at no cost on affected vehicles out to seven
years or 70,000 miles from the original date the vehicle was put in
service. For vehicles with mileage in the 70,000-80,000 range, GM
will provide the instrument cluster at no cost, but not the labor.