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I drive a 1993 Chevy Corsica which has had an internal water leak for 3 years. I am told by mechanics that the water is going into the engine block or that the heater core needs repair. Because I cannot afford the repairs, I keep the overflow tank filled to prevent overheating. In the winter I add 50/50 coolant, but in the summer, to save money, I use water. As I understand, using water can cause quicker corrosion to certain parts that the water flows through.

My car has lost some power recently when I need to accelerate. I know there are probably many reasons why this could be happening. But my question is that if I were to presume that the other causes were to be ruled out, where should I look first for a problem that is caused by the prolonged use of water as a coolant for an internal leak during the last 3 summers and in what order to look for them.

For instance, maybe start with checking the spark plugs for corrosion and moving on from there.

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Long term operation of an engine that is leaking water/coolant internally will cause major damage. Not knowing where the water/coolant is leaking into the block makes it difficult to know if it is a cause of loss of power. You may be damaging your engine beyond repair, which will be more expensive in the long run.

First place I would look is the oil. Is there evidence of water/coolant in the oil itself. The water/coolant can leak into the oil and cause poor lubrication throughout the entire engine. This in turn causes premature wear or failure of bearing surfaces, which in turn increases friction and damage.

Water itself will cause corrosion on internal parts which will result in premature wear and damage to part. You can check the spark plugs for corrosion, but they will not likely be a good indicator of what is wrong unless it is related to the proper function of a spark plug.

Other than the "many reasons" why you may be loosing power, I believe after 3 years of operating this engine with an internal leak, it may be showing the ultimate result.

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