I need some advice, I bought a 52 Corsa 1.0 about 2 weeks ago as our other car failed the mot badly and wasn't worth repairing. It's overheating rapidly (5-10 mins of driving) it looses pretty much all the coolant during that time.

Oil pressure indicator also comes on occasionally when I break. My first thought was head gasket failure however there is no sign of moisture in the oil apart from a small amount of residue on oil cap ( I wiped this off yesterday and it hasn't returned)

I can't see any obvious leaks in radiator, pipes etc but I've only looked before driving the car never when it's hot. Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


Firstly, check the condition of the radiator - are the fins all in decent condition? Is there free airflow through it? Does the fan work?

Check for any static signs of leaks - e.g. staining on the side of the block.

Give the cooling system a good flush through in case of any blockages - try and flush it 'backwards' if you can (i.e. the reverse direction to the usual flow)

Refill the coolant, and make sure it is bled properly to get all the air out (I'm not familiar with the Corsa's bleeding sequence, but it should be easily google-able). Run the engine and watch what happens - is there any white smoke from the exhaust (coolant getting into the exhaust)? Are there loads of bubbles in the header tank (combustion gases getting into the coolant)? Does the fan kick in as it gets warm? Does the heater work? Can you see any signs of leakage when it's hot (be very careful, steam will scold!)

  • Thanks nick, will do what you suggest. There's no white smoke, cant see any bubbles, the fan goes like crazy when it gets hot and stays on for about 5 mins after engine switched off Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 14:03
  • Sounds like the fan is working correctly then, and the lack of smoke, bubbles and water in the oil suggests it's not the head gasket - so a blockage in the cooling system would be my next thing to check
    – Nick C
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 15:06
  • Have the cooling systems pressure tested to ensure it is able to build and maintain pressure. It could be as simple as a failed radiator cap.
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 15:09
  • I've just refilled the coolant and run the car idle for 20 mins with the coolant cap off. There is now more residue under the oil cap and there is a small amount of white smoke coming out of the exhaust, there were very little air bubbles in the coolant tank. The heaters didn't warm up at all during this time (still blowing cold air). Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 15:34
  • As these sign now point more towards the gasket. Do you think at this point the damage may be so little that a product like steel seal may work? Or straight to garage? Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 15:36

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