Does the smell of anti-freeze mean something is wrong?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm a little old lady who owns a 1986 Chevy Celebrity that I only drive to Bingo and area stores. The car has less than 17,000 miles on it. Recently, when it stalled on a cold start, I took it in for a tune up and a radiator flush. Now, I have a strong odor of anti-freeze. There isn't any leak on the garage floor. Is something wrong?

TOM: I don't think it's anything to worry about, Val. Whenever my brother flushes someone's antifreeze, he always ends up spilling a good bit of it all over the engine compartment. And my guess is that's what you're smelling, too.

RAY: It's easy to spill. And normally, the spilled antifreeze evaporates after a few days. But you may not drive far enough to get the engine hot enough to make the stuff evaporate.

TOM: So get a few of your girlfriends together and go on an adventure. Go play bingo somewhere far in the next town. The long drive ought to get rid of most of the coolant.

RAY: If it doesn't disappear after a couple of longer drives, then take it back and ask the mechanic to take another look. But my guess is that won't be necessary. Good luck with the car and the Bingo, Val.

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