Any hope for my Hyundai Elantra Engine? Help!

I was driving my 2001 Hyundai Elantra the other evening on 95-S. First I noticed that I lost heat. Then about 10min later, I noticed that the temperature gauge is way above High. Without any knowledge about the car, I continued driving for about 10 min. Then, my car couldn’t pick up the speed. I finally realized the seriousness of the problem and pulled over, and only to see smokes and bad smell coming out from the hood. But during the whole unfortunate event, I didn’t see any warnings or lights at all from the car. The mechanics told me that my engine was toasted based on my description of the event. But he hasn’t done any test yet, because he believes the test would tell me the same thing and I have to waste the money for the checking work. I really love my car (94k miles) and hate to loose it, which is still in very good condition. I was wondering if there is any hope that my engine is not seriously damaged and is fixable without a replacement. Does it worth to have the mechanics to check the car for $100 just to find out his prediction is right.

You DID have a warning from the car. The temperature gauge was begging for your help.
My opinion is that any diagnostic fees should only be charged if an engine repair or replacement is not performed; and in theory, a 100 bucks is a bit high. At least IMHO.
There’s about a 99% probability the engine is fried based on your complaint and the mechanic is correct already.

It’s a mistake for the mechanic to make such an assumption. You need another mechanic. It takes only a couple of minuets to do a pressure check. If you can find a radiator repair shop, or a good mechanic to check it, the engine may be saveable. Of course, there are other tests besides a simple pressure check; but, that’s a starting point.

Have you tried to start it since this event? If it starts and runs, you may get a little more life out of it, but from your description I think your mechanic is probably correct, you’ve toasted the engine. Seriously, start looking for a replacement engine. I agree with OK, the mechanic should only charge for the diagnostic if you decide not to fix it.

As usual, ok4450 has given some very good information. To that information I would add my hope that when you get your next car, you would look at the gauges on your dashboard more often and would heed the warnings that they give.

If the temperature gauge is reading high, that indicates that you should pull over and shut the engine down as quickly as you safely can do so. If the oil pressure gauge is reading low, that indicates that you need to pull over and shut your engine down IMMEDIATELY. In either case, driving an additional ten miles virtually guarantees that your engine will become a useless hunk of metal. If you don’t believe me, I suggest that you read the information in your Owner’s Manual.

Sincere best wishes for better experiences with your next car!

This post brought to mind a question of my own: We have audible warnings on our cars to tell us when we are about to leave our lights on (new battery) or run out of fuel (possible new fuel pump), and yet, so far as I know, no audible signal to tell us our car is overheating or has low oil pressure (new engine). We have microwaves that tell us when to pull apart the frozen food, yet no voice in the car to tell us, “Your engine is overheating. Pull over as soon as it is safe.” Why not? Even those of us who care about our cars can get distracted by such extraneous details as the road and traffic.

I agree on cars having better warning devices. I would like to see (hear) an overheat warning which is as persistent, and as attention grabbing, as the “fasten your seat belt” beeping of a late model Toyota. I’ve not seen anyone who wants to ignore that beeping. It gets the job done. They fasten their seat belts to quite it.

Yeah. Unfortunately, I learned the lesson (of paying more attention to the car) in such a hard way. The mechanics did some test on the engine and found out he was right. He didn’t go further so that I don’t have to pay too much for in-depth diagnosis. One of the options for me is to put a used engine but there is only 90day parts warranty with it or to spend a fortune for a new engine. I really don’t feel like to gamble with a lot of money on the car with potential troublesome complications though. How I wish there are better warning signs for the essential parts of the car! Or some kind of self shutdown trigger or lock system to prevent the car from potential serious damage. Thanks for your input.

Sorry you had to learn such an expensive lesson. If you trust the mechanic, leave it at that, and get another engine. If the engine will start, and the car run not too poorly, consider getting a second opinion, just to be on the safe side before spending a lot of money.

Yes, it would be nice to have an irritating buzzer to sound if the oil pressure goes too low or the temperature too high (or other indicators of possible serious damage, such as a flashing Check Engine Light). As for a “self shutdown”, forget it. What happens the first time the car shuts itself down at 70 mph, or in the middle of a very bad neighborhood? The personal injury lawyers would have a field day with that one!

If the engine is not repairable (i.e., suffered major damage), what’s wrong with a guaranteed used one? The car has 94,000 miles on it, after all – it’s not worth buying a brand new engine at that age. Sure, there’s a chance that the used engine will be a lemon, but what’s the price difference with a brand new engine? Can you buy a fuller warranty on the used engine for much less than the difference?

Just scrap this car and buy a new or used one.