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1991 Acrura Over Heats after about 5 miles

I am helping a friend with this 1991 Acura Intega. The problem is the car over heats after city driving after about 5 miles. The fluids levels are fine and it appears there is no leaking. An odd thing is if the heater is running then the car will not over heat near as fast (can go 15-20 miles). I was thinking about doing a radiator pressure test and also checking the thermostat. Is there anything else I should look at that could be causing this? Thanks so much.

by city driving I take it you mean stop and go. Have a look at the fan - make sure it’s coming on and blowing the correct direction.

I have to agree. I don’t think your cooling fan is working. TIP: If your vehicle looks like it’s going to overheat the best thing to do is pull over and shut the engine off. If you can’t do that then roll down all the windows and turn the heat to high defrost. This will help the engine cool off and maybe save a head gasket or two. Do this if you can maintain vehicle speed only. If you are stuck in traffic…shut down the engine. A tow is cheaper than an engine.

The radiator is not dissipating the heat as it should. Turning on the heater effectively adds another radiator. As one post suggested, the cooling fan for the radiator may not be working, so not enough air is being pulled through the radiator. Another possiblility is that you have a radiator hose that collapses internally due to the heat. Check the hoses to the radiator to be certain that they do not feel spongy. The radiator may be partially plugged internally. Sometimes flushing the radiator will solve the problem but other times the radiator may have to be replaced. The radiator may be plugged externally with bugs or debris. In this case, take a garden hose with a nozzle and squirt through the radiator fins from the engine side of the radiator out through the grille. Compressed air can be used for this as well. This takes about 10 minutes and you can do this for nothing.