Dear Doctor: I purchased a 1993 Toyota Camry with the six-cylinder engine and 123,000 miles from my neighbor. Within two months of the previous owner topping off all fluid levels I was very low on coolant and the car almost overheated. A repair shop said there was no evidence of a leak, but within the past two months I’ve had to put in more coolant. Also, there has been steam coming off the tailpipe, which has gotten worse. I have been told it is the head gasket. Any suggestions? Carol
Dear Carol: It would be very expensive to actually remove the cylinder heads and have them pressure-checked and resurfaced. And indeed, the problem you describe on the Camry does sound like a cylinder head or head gasket failure. I recommend that your option be to add a good quality stop leak into the radiator, or buy a bottle of Blue Devil sealant and follow the instructions. I have used both types of products over the years for head gasket sealing.