By February 2, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

Head Gasket Leak?

Reader Question


I have a 2000 Jeep Cherokee sport with the 4.0 six and and the four speed auto. It has 91 000 km on it. I have recently inherited the vehicle from my mother, although I have always made sure the maintenance has been done properly at a reputable garage since it was new.

It gets Quaker State synthetic oil every 5 000 km or 3 000 miles (or three months) and only the best of parts. However I have to fill the reservoir with coolant about once a month. Water drips out of the exhaust pipe every time I start it as well.

Neither the garage nor I have found any coolant leaks under the car. Could the coolant be getting into the engine? Maybe a a gasket? My mother only drives it very short trips and lives in the city. I tried to get it out on the highway as much as possible when she owned it.

We live in Montreal where the average temperature during our winter is well below freezing but we always gave the Jeep a long warm up in the driveway. Also the temperature from the dash gauge is always either just above (idling) or below (above 30 mph) the middle marker even with a new safety thermostat.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated because I am planning on keeping this Jeep literally forever since I grew up driving it and hate the new liberty and Nitro (mopar or no car).

Thanks very much


P.S. How long should I expect the transmission to last before it goes?

Hey Tom,

He emailed me back the other day and said that the mechanic still can not find an internal coolant leak after 3 pressure tests but they see chocolate milkshake looking stuff inside the valve cover when they took the oil filler cap off and ran their fingers on the inside top of the valve cover.

I suggested that he use the over the counter additive I mention on this page……it really works. HOWEVER you will NOT have freeze protection inside the radiator and engine because you have to drain out all the antifreeze in order for the additive to work properly.

If you can wait until the weather warms up that would be better, or if you can make sure to keep the vehicle inside at night so the radiator and block do not freeze and crack.

I have seen transmissions fail at 30,000 miles and some last 200,000 without problems. Routine transmission services, not pulling a trailer or heavy load and not idling for long periods of time all help improve the life of a transmission.


Austin Davis

Posted in: Coolant Leak

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."