My 1988 Subaru XT6 2.7L engine screams at me on a cold start then it will stop and then do it again when I take it out of park, but then it stops.

Also, my car is losing antifreeze. Any ideas why?

  • 1
    The easiest way to find out where the antifreeze is going is to pressure-test the cooling system. It's a relatively quick and easy test.
    – Alex D
    Mar 7 '12 at 19:02
  • What changes when shifting out of park? Auto trans clutch trouble? Losing antifreeze is a huge question, can you narrow it down? When? Any steam? Puddles? How much?
    – geoO
    Jan 2 '15 at 4:00

Most water pumps are designed with a weep hole.This is a small hole that leaks a small amount of antifreeze just before the water pump fails.Most of the time the leak is just above the crankshaft pulley.When you shut off the car the pressure in the cooling system forces some coolant out this hole and it drips onto the pulley and is transfered to the fanbelt.The antifreeze makes the belt slip for the first few minutes.While the car is running the fan blows the coolant away from the belt so you don't notice a puddle or a squeal.


First, check your weep hole as per mike's answer. I'm a bit doubtful, though, because if it's leaking enough to be wet in the morning I would expect a puddle of some kind. I would also expect a squeal on hot starts.

Squealing on a cold start on older cars is usually an accessory belt that has lost tension, especially if it momentarily comes back when the engine speed changes. You should check the belt's condition for cracks and if it's good re-tension the belt (unless it has a tensioner, most newer cars do). If the belt looks bad, or you have no idea when the belt was last changed you should probably replace the belt.

A broken accessory belt will cause overheating, as the water pump is usually on the accessory belt. If you don't notice the overheating you could cause some really expensive damage.

As for the coolant loss: You should, like everybody else said, check for physical leaks in and under the engine bay. Try to find the pipes to the heater cores, and also look at the seams of the radiator. Do this when the engine is already warmed up, as some small leaks only show up when the cooling system is pressurized. If you can't find an external leak you might have a head gasket leak, which you might be able to get away with for a while, but will eventually have to be fixed with a very expensive repair bill. Keep an eye on that temperature gauge!


Off the top of my head this sounds like either your serpentine belt is going bad and/or one of the idler pulleys has got a bad bearing.

If you are losing antifreeze that is indicative of a leak somewhere. Could be anywhere in the system. I would check your oil and make sure that you don't see any antifreeze in there. Also look under the car where you usually park and see if there is any liquid dripping or spots.


Mine did scream too - after I bought some 5$ bottle of fuel-improvment crap and poured it into the gazoline. The effect stopped with using other gas.


My car does this only on cold days if you give it a quick full rev it goes away and you never hear it again until it's been lying overnight in cold weatherSpeaking to someone in the know they say it's using cheap anti freeze. Just wonder if it should be completely washed out and start again

  • Using cheap antifreeze will not cause this. "Someone in the know" is not actually in the know in this case.
    – 3Dave
    Jun 8 '17 at 19:15
  • Please use the 'ask question' link at the top of the page, and welcome to the site! Jun 8 '17 at 19:48

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