I have a 2007 Holden Barina.

About 2 months ago my engine was constantly over heating and I was having to top it up with water at least every third day. Took it to the mechanic who said he thought that one of the hoses had a hole so he replaced it, but said to keep an eye on it as it could also have been the radiator leaking.

I had no problems until yesterday. There was white smoke and a bad smell coming from my engine. However, the temperature gauge hadn't risen at all…

I'm taking it back to the mechanic this week but would like some opinions first as I really don't want to get ripped off (I have no clue about anything car related).

2 Answers 2


White smoke= blown cylinder head gasket. Coolant is entering the cylinder and is being burned along with fuel. Over time your volume of engine coolant decreases hence the reason the reason you are refilling every few days. Don't delay in repairing. Also change the oil as well as you might coolant in the oil as well.

  • I think he means the smoke is coming from the engine compartment e.g. theres a leak and it's hitting exhaust and evaporating.
    – Ben
    Nov 21, 2016 at 14:05
  • either way its still antifreeze burning whether from a hose, rad, or head gasket.
    – Old_Fossil
    Dec 22, 2016 at 5:01

If your engine is constantly overheating and you have to refill coolant every so often, and you see white smoke it could very much be a bad head gasket, or maybe if you're lucky, just a coolant leak that's evaporating in the engine bay. Where was the smoke and bad smell coming from? From the rear near your exhaust, or from your engine?

One way you could check if your head gasket is bad is by checking your oil, it shouldn't be creamy colored(It shouldn't look like coffee with creamer in it), you can also check your coolant for any oil or oil like substance, but I doubt there will be any. If your oil and coolant are all good, the next thing I would do is start your car and let it run for a bit, as its running, try looking around the engine bay for a source of the smoke, you may also see a spot somewhere near your exhaust where fluid has been leaking on to and that would be a give away as to where your problem could be.

  • Sometimes, opening the radiator cap and looking for bubbling can be a good indicator, too. :) That, or the smell of exhaust gases.
    – yollooool
    Aug 31, 2017 at 22:09

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