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Discussion Starter #1
hi,
niro HEV january 2019 12000km
Every time I do a trip more than 20mn I got a strange hot coolant smell comming from the car.
it is comming from somewhere around the electric motor and brake fluid reservoir.
the engine coolant is hot, the motor coolant is cold (cold like 30 degres C)
last month the two fluids level where low so I went to kia for a refill, the level has not budged since (it was low from factory)
in june I discovered the brake fluid reservoire was overfilled and I saw drops of brake fluid leaking from under the cover... had kia pump the excess fluid
(what is the smell of hot brake fluid? maybe a drop fell on a hot surface... hence the smell)
so... does anybody has noticed this smell on his car?
anything I should check?

thank you
 

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Please excuse my ignorance, but what's 20mn in km or miles? I'm not sure what an mn is.

Regardless, if you've only got 12000 km, you shouldn't have low coolant levels. Are you certain it was low from the factory?

Brake fluid being over full is also a concern (and very unusual): brake fluid can remove paint, dissolve the insulation on electrical wiring, etc, and it shouldn't be allowed to overflow the reservoir. I'm not aware of any sort of plumbing that would fail in a way that could transfer coolant to the brake system, but perhaps there is some sort of vacuum booster that could do that. You might want to open the reservoir for the brake fluid and take a picture of what the fluid looks like and post it to the forum for others to reflect on. If it's been contaminated with coolant, it will probably look "wrong".

I've heard a few people on this forum mention that they needed a water pump replacement and I think there might even be a TSB for that. On a conventional car (and I assume the Niro might be designed this way too), the water pump is designed to leak a small amount of coolant when the bearings begin to fail. So if you are smelling coolant, that might indicate a water pump problem, but the thing about the brake fluid being overfull wouldn't be explained by that. If you are getting coolant into your brake system somehow, that's a potentially hazardous and a really big concern because it could cause corrosion and failure of the braking system. Checking the appearance of the brake fluid in the reservoir could provide some confirmation of the concern or conversely, reassurance that it's likely to be a non-concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Please excuse my ignorance, but what's 20mn in km or miles? I'm not sure what an mn is.

Regardless, if you've only got 12000 km, you shouldn't have low coolant levels. Are you certain it was low from the factory?

Brake fluid being over full is also a concern (and very unusual): brake fluid can remove paint, dissolve the insulation on electrical wiring, etc, and it shouldn't be allowed to overflow the reservoir. I'm not aware of any sort of plumbing that would fail in a way that could transfer coolant to the brake system, but perhaps there is some sort of vacuum booster that could do that. You might want to open the reservoir for the brake fluid and take a picture of what the fluid looks like and post it to the forum for others to reflect on. If it's been contaminated with coolant, it will probably look "wrong".

I've heard a few people on this forum mention that they needed a water pump replacement and I think there might even be a TSB for that. On a conventional car (and I assume the Niro might be designed this way too), the water pump is designed to leak a small amount of coolant when the bearings begin to fail. So if you are smelling coolant, that might indicate a water pump problem, but the thing about the brake fluid being overfull wouldn't be explained by that. If you are getting coolant into your brake system somehow, that's a potentially hazardous and a really big concern because it could cause corrosion and failure of the braking system. Checking the appearance of the brake fluid in the reservoir could provide some confirmation of the concern or conversely, reassurance that it's likely to be a non-concern.
20mn = 20 minutes
yes both coolant levels at almost minimum from day one but went down 2mm just to be on mini level (very ho summer maybe some evaporation...) so decided to go for refill.
break fluid is as clean as day one no contamination... i'm pretty sure.
the waterpump TSB is it the for the motor or for the ICE? my smell come from the motor side...
I found another person that have the smell comming from same area... no idea neither what the issue is... my serviceis due in a couple of months so i'll let them know if smell is still there.


by the way they have been very cautious for the coolant refill putting absorbant all around the place before filling up so I discard a coolant spill that evaporates slowly.
 

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It is normal for the coolant to be at min when cool then go to max when warm. This is coolant expansion and is normal. It will return to min level when it cools.

As far as the water pump "TSB" in my case I contacted customer service and asked if there was a recall on our 2019 NIRO PHEV for this and received a call from KIA Customer Service saying no. This seems to be more of a repair order if a customer is experiencing problems and brings the car in to be fixed. The Service repair advisory then helps the technician to diagnose and repair the problem. KIA said they notify customers of a recall and that a customer can search by their VIN number to see if there are any outstanding recalls. If you use the owners portal for KIA at the bottom it also informs you immediately of any recalls.

Since it has gotten cold our heating system has been operating for the first time. Their was some new smell that came from the system probably heating up for the firs time and delivering warm air. It went away after a day.

This has been my experience that I wanted to share with you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
my level at minimum was when hot... and there is very little diference on my car between hot and cold level (unlike on my subaru)
I'll contact the dealer monday and see what they say...
 

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back from dealer!
They give no importance to this smell so far as the coolant level is stable, there are no TSB for water pump for now on this car (just a BMS actualisation to do)... so wait and see... I have 6.5 years left of waranty :D that is relaxing on that respect...
I'm not in particular rush to have mechanics put their hands in the bonnet as by experience every time they touched one of my cars they touched something else as well creating a second problem that needed to be adressed... the less they touch it the better :)
 

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back from dealer!
They give no importance to this smell so far as the coolant level is stable, there are no TSB for water pump for now on this car (just a BMS actualisation to do)... so wait and see... I have 6.5 years left of waranty :D that is relaxing on that respect...
I'm not in particular rush to have mechanics put their hands in the bonnet as by experience every time they touched one of my cars they touched something else as well creating a second problem that needed to be adressed... the less they touch it the better :)
I am a DIY er myself. I take a lot of care and do a careful job when I work on our vehicles.

I respect technicians knowledge and resources but am much more comfortable doing the regular maintenance myself do to the issue you mentioned. I have the knowledge and training to do the work and since it is our family vehicle I take a lot of pride in doing it right.
 

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I too pride myself on maintaining my cars. In my younger days I would remove and rebuild engines, add cams and headers, and spend lots of money. :)

But I turn 65 next week, and frankly it's getting tougher to crawl under a car nowadays. The truck isn't so bad, because even being a 4x2 it has much more ground clearance than my Niro or my GTI, and when I drive it onto my ramps there's plenty of room. Even on the ramps that GTI is really getting cramped under there. :D
 
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