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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this has been an issue plaguing the car since I bought it with 33k miles.

If I fill the overflow tank to the max level when cold, over the course of an oil change interval (for me 5k miles or about 2-3 months), the overflow tank will be below the minimum mark usually. I don't let it get any farther, so the radiator is still full.

Last night I put on a new oem radiator cap to see if that fixes the issue.

I don't smell any coolant from the hvac vents, my oil is clear (I get it changed at the dealer, but I check it inbetween). I've also looked at as many hoses as I can see under the hood and don't see any evidence of a leak anyplace.

The dealer I bought the car from (different than where I get service) said they pressure tested the system and found no issues.

Just concerned as my past cars that had a different setup of cooling system where the pressure cap was on the overflow tank, not the radiator, would go for a year without losing a drop.

Car has 56k miles now, I planned on having the dealer do cooling system flush at 60k and telling them about the issue.
 

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Wisdom Born of Age
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If you're filling to max when cold, when your engine gets hot and expands the fluid, there may be losses from the overflow tube.
 

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That's too much to lose over the course of an oil change. Per one of the techs on here that I talked to. I had the same problem on my 05 Matrix and it turned out to be a leaking water pump. Which was common in that application.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I will try to visually inspect the water pump then.
 

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08 Accord EX-L (I4)- 138K
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Is your exhaust steamier than normal and does it smell at all like coolant?

If this is the case, then that is a sign of a leaky head gasket. Although, that should have been detected when they performed a leak test of your coolant system. If your water pump has been leaking, you should see blue-ish coolant residue on the metal frame directly underneath the pump.

If you are still unable to find the source of the leak, I would just leak test the system again yourself, as it is very easy to do. You can rent a tester from many auto parts stores for free and pump the system up between 14-18 psi -verify your coolant system holds pressure and check for leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is your exhaust steamier than normal and does it smell at all like coolant?

If this is the case, then that is a sign of a leaky head gasket. Although, that should have been detected when they performed a leak test of your coolant system. If your water pump has been leaking, you should see blue-ish coolant residue on the metal frame directly underneath the pump.

If you are still unable to find the source of the leak, I would just leak test the system again yourself, as it is very easy to do. You can rent a tester from many auto parts stores for free and pump the system up between 14-18 psi -verify your coolant system holds pressure and check for leaks.
Thanks for the advice. Exhaust isn't steamy and doesn't smell of coolant at all. I'll be trying to check the water pump tonight.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So I can't really see the water pump at all. I'm goin to monitor it over the next week and see if the new rad cap made a difference. If I still have a problem, I'll rent a pressure tester.


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lol wut
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Within the past year or so I've been noticing this in my car too, never really thought it was a problem but I'm definitely interested to hear if anyone has any solid info on this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Within the past year or so I've been noticing this in my car too, never really thought it was a problem but I'm definitely interested to hear if anyone has any solid info on this issue.
Yeah I am monitoring the level closely. If it stays at the same slow pace I will have them check it out at my next service. If it speeds up I'll take it right in.


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bump for an update.

Last weekend I made sure the car was cold and filled the coolant to the max level in the tank.

Drove all this week 75 mile commute each day.

I get home from the Gym today, and didn't pull as far forward as I usually do, go to walk in the house and noticed a wet spot on my driveway where my engine had been sitting before. It was cloudy outside, but didn't rain today so I thought it odd. I was about to write it off as rain that didn't dry due to my car being parked over it, instead I went outside and looked under the car to find blue coolant dripping from around the undertray.

Popped the hood, and my overflow tank was nearly empty, shining a flash light down between the 2 fans I can see coolant on the top of the undertray underneath the radiator.

It is going in to Honda first thing Monday morning, and won't be driven until then (dealership is only 2-3 miles from my house).

Will update on what it ends up being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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To have a radiator leak at 56k miles is very unusual. Either it is really really bad luck, or there was some abuse of the car with the previous owner.

I had some bad luck a few weeks ago where I bought some memory for a server at work. 3 out of the 4 sticks of memory were bad. I don't think I have ever had 3 memory sticks go bad in the 15 years I have been in IT. I know this isn't car related but it does happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
To have a radiator leak at 56k miles is very unusual. Either it is really really bad luck, or there was some abuse of the car with the previous owner.

I had some bad luck a few weeks ago where I bought some memory for a server at work. 3 out of the 4 sticks of memory were bad. I don't think I have ever had 3 memory sticks go bad in the 15 years I have been in IT. I know this isn't car related but it does happen.
Hah, what kind of abuse would make a radiator go bad?




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Hah, what kind of abuse would make a radiator go bad?




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I honestly wouldn't know. Perhaps someone's messing around in the engine bay and whacking the radiator. Some people have installed HID lights. Could have been at that time that the radiator took a smack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well I got it to the dealership without incident. Radiator was dry this morning, had to fill it and the overflow tank up with distilled water to get it there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So it was the bottom of the radiator that was leaking. New honda radiator is covered under my extended warranty.
 

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So it was the bottom of the radiator that was leaking. New honda radiator is covered under my extended warranty.
Nice. Radiators generally aren't cheap and replacement always gives more peace of mind than repair (imo at least). Did they suggest what might have happened? (impact damage, rock, ?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nice. Radiators generally aren't cheap and replacement always gives more peace of mind than repair (imo at least). Did they suggest what might have happened? (impact damage, rock, ?)
Nope he didn't say what could have caused it.

But yeah I am sure this will alleviate my slow leak as well. Like I said, since I bought the car, it always had a very slow coolant leak, so maybe it was a factory defect that finally got worse?

Anyway, I am having them do the brake fluid and power steering fluid while they have it.
 

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I'm glad you are covered under warranty. Those OEM radiators are super expensive $350 list with getting it for $250 online. I made the mistake once of getting an after market radiator (performance radiator). It started leaking after 3 years just out of the warranty. I did buy another one to replace it since I was getting rid of the car. I'll only go with OEM for that and driveshafts from here on.
 
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