1997 Dodge Neon running hot

I have a 1997 Dodge neon and the check engine light has been on since I drove it from Oregon, Idaho, Utah to Tucson Az. I got the car in Washington state and this is my first experience with this type of car. It also has a small oil leak that requires me to give it oil from time to time. However I was driving it last night and all of the sudden it started getting very hot and the gauge went as high as it could go. The bell started ringing but like other cars it wasn’t gushing water out water from the bottom of the car but it started smoking. I could not tell where the smoke was coming from because it was dark out. I checked the fans by the engine and they were working and blowing OK. Can anyone help me? I would really appreciate any advice. MICHELLE

Check the oil on the dipstick. If it has a milky look to it then the head gasket is blown.

Thank you, I appreciate the advice. I did change the T-stat and that has worked out so far but the check engine light is still on and there is still a small oil leak. Any suggestions?

Most auto parts stores, such as Advanced Auto, Auto Zone, etc, will check the codes for free. Disconnecting the the battery for several minutes usually clears the codes, but you should find out what the code is first.

The oil leak on these cars is usually from a leaky head gasket, but the only way to know for sure is to have a mechanic look at it.