I need help! A few weeks ago I was driving to my aunts house and as soon as I got off the highway and onto the main road the temperature gauge started to rise. I slowed down, it dropped back to normal and stayed there. At her house, after a few hours, I checked all the fluids before leaving and both the coolant and oil levels were good. Driving home on the highway I didn’t have any problems but as soon as I got off the highway, the same thing happened again. The next day my boyfriend replaced the thermostat because we both figured it’d be an easy and cheap thing to take care of and see if it would fix the problem. After he completed the replacement, we went for a short drive (15-20) mins and it was fine, pulled into my driveway, it starts overheating again. So, I left it with my mechanic and explained the issue. Two days later I get it back and they said they couldn’t find anything wrong but they bled the coolant system and topped it off. I drove two hours that night and it was perfectly fine. It sat for four days while I was away. The first day I drove it when I got back, it was fine. The next day it was doing good until I got home and it started to overheat, again! I let the car sit for a couple of hours, checked the coolant and it was at normal level. Checked my oil and it was empty so I filled it up and figured that took care of the problem. The next morning I left for a five hour drive up to Maine to move stuff into my apt. First hour was fine but then I was stuck in traffic and the temp gauge started to go up. I pulled off at an exit, stopped for a while, checked everything and couldn’t find any issues. Got back on the highway and it was fine unless I got stuck in stop and go traffic. I pulled off at an exit for a pit stop and noticed a Midas, I figured why the heck not. Told them the issue, guy checked it, and replaced the radiator cap since it was cheap and easy and would explain the problems I had been having. I began my trip up to Maine again and the whole way up (2 1/2 more hours) my temp gauge fluctuated between normal and a few lines below red, it never went any higher though. The next morning I checked all fluids before leaving to drive back to RI, added a bit of oil, and back on the road. It was good for over two hours until I got off the highway in Portland and at one point it went in the red. Stopped there for a while and back on the road, had issues all the way home. I’m not sure what to do or what it could be. Head gaskets were replaced two years ago and radiator is almost four years old. Water pump is new, too. And both fans are working, even when the temp gauge says it’s overheating. Please help!
At this point, my major concerns would be that the cylinder heads may have been warped by continual overheating, and that running the engine with a very low oil level may well have destroyed the engine’s main bearings and other lubricated parts.
Whether the overheating was caused by a breached head gasket, or whether you now have a breached head gasket (or two) as a result of overheating, I strongly suggest that you have your mechanic do a compression check before deciding to invest any money in repairing the overheating issue.
Just taking things at face value, I would question whether it is worth sinking any more money into this 15 year old car.