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I noticed i have had to add radiator fluid to the expansion tank several times in the last few months. When I check the radiotor its full right to the cap but the expansion tank is empty not even reaching the dipstick. Shouldnt the overflow level mimic the level of the radiotor when car is cold?
any insights?
 

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well, leak is definte possibility. your CRV is 12 years old.
 

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I noticed i have had to add radiator fluid to the expansion tank several times in the last few months. When I check the radiotor its full right to the cap but the expansion tank is empty not even reaching the dipstick. Shouldnt the overflow level mimic the level of the radiotor when car is cold?
any insights?
No it does not mimic the level of the radiator. Each time engine heats up the coolant expands creating enough pressure to blow a small amount of coolant into the expansion tank. When the engine cools off a vacuum is produced in the radiator and the coolant in the expansion tank is sucked back into the radiator. If there is a leak in the coolant system the level in the expansion tank slowly decreases because part of the coolant is expelled on to the ground not into the expansion tank. You probably have a leak around the water pump shaft seal or a leak in the radiator. A leak in the radiator usually occurs at the seal between the plastic and aluminum components or a hair line fracture in the plastic.
 

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Shouldnt the overflow level mimic the level of the radiotor when car is cold?
No.

The rad should remain essentially FULL (within an inch of the neck, cold) even when the overflow level varies.

A bad pressure cap or a loose fit on the hose that goes from the rad to the overflow can cause a loss of coolant.

A more likely place to lose coolant is at a hose junction. They could be leaking COLD but not after everything expands when the engine warms and the coolant circulates. Look carefully for a trace/trail of a leak.

Another way to troubleshoot that is to borrow a pressure tester for cooling systems (FREE from many parts stores) and test it cold.
 

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Right after you shut off an engine that is at operating temp or higher is a good time to 'LOOK' for leaks. Many times you will see a very fine stream, or fine spray, coming from the area between the radiator tank top and the fins just below it, etc. Could also be at hose connections,etc. When hot, there is pressure in the system so that is when leaks are usually more visible.

Remember, do not touch any hot spots and DO NOT remove or loosen the radiator cap when the coolant is hot.

Or, as Carbuff2 suggests, use a pressure tester when the coolant is not hot.

I think the overflow reservoir is fairly easy to remove. If so, you could remove it and check it for leaks.

Buffalo4
 
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