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Q: How serious is a coolant leak on a 1995 Saab 900s...details/history below on 1995 Saab 900

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This car has been great for me for a year but I'm not sure how long it's going to last now. Over the summer the upper coolant hose suddenly blew while driving through Boston. A very good samaritan identified the problem, drove me to autozone where I bought the part, and he fixed it. Then I started noticing periodic, small leaks. I tried some stop leak but it didn't seem to do the trick. Thinking it was the heater hose, I was going to buy the part but I realized the problem is not just when I use the heater.

Also, sometimes in the car I also notice that the interior starts to smell like coolant. That could be because I had a container of it in the back, or perhaps it's from leakage in the engine.

Finally, when the cold started a couple weeks ago, I started noticing a lot of white exhaust coming from behind my car, especially when stopped at a light. It could be me just exaggerating the amount in my head, thinking that my car is smoking when actually it's a normal amount of exhaust...hard to tell. On the other hand, I know that's a sign of a blown headgasket, and it makes sense if I have a blown headgasket that the interior might smell like coolant from leaks in the engine.

Any ideas?



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Coolant smell inside the car is a symptom of a leaking heater core. That is the small radiator inside the dashboard that transfers the heat of the coolant to the air that blows through you vents making you warm. That particular model of Saab is knows to develop external head gasket leaks, meaning coolant leaks to the outside of the engine rather than into the combustion chambers (cylinders). If the car currently leaks coolant, bring the car to operating temperature on a flat surface and look for drips, then follow the drips to their source. It can take patience.
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