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Car overheated and something popped. 2002 Chrysler sebring

I was driving down the road for about 20 minutes when I saw steam coming out. I was a block away from home so I thought I’d make it before anything bad happened. The light turned green and I hit the gas and a few seconds after that something popped. I continued driving and the engine screeched and I pulled into my driveway. I jumped out and opened the hood and there was coolant everywhere. Like covering the engine and the underside of the hood. I just want to know what happened and how much it costs. Thanks

The water outlet broke, about $150 in parts and 2 hours labor.

Is it safe to drive to the shop?

If the shop is more than a block away I would say NO! The vehicle is probably safe but the overheating you could get will cause a really big hole in your wallet.

I agree with @VOLVO_V70. You risk major engine damage.

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Would you know if it overheated in the first place because of that or was that an effect of it overheating

Those plastic water outlets break during normal use or car fail from excessive heat. What did the temperature gauge indicate? The steam may have been from a leak/small crack in the plastic at normal operating temperature, then it ruptured. The squealing was from coolant on the belts.

Over pressure could be a sign of larger issues. This is how my volvo started out, things popping off and squirting coolant everwhere. After a few years of that I had a blown head gasket.

Insist that your garage do a compression test. If they say it’s not necessary, insist they do it anyway. Honestly, I think compression tests should be done periodically anyway.

How much do you pay for periodic compression tests? It would be about 2 hours labor for this car.

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I had my last one done when I bought it recently. I don’t know how much it was. By periodic, I mean once every 50K miles or so. I think most people would agree I’m being a bit overly cautious, but it’s so easy to miss head gasket problems and by the time you start seeing issues you’re probably causing harm.

Head gasket failure just really freaks me out after having a really bad experience.

A compression test will many times miss a small head gasket leak.

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I agree a compression test may not show a leak and is not designed to do so. There are way too many reasons why it may show a leak where there is none too. The compression testers hose may not be seated well enough for the longer period of time the gauge needs to be on that cylinder. It is designed for a quick reference not a prolonged time. A leak-down tester would be a better choice. Or a pressure tester for the cooling system.

You may already have caused major engine problems. Just from driving that one block could have warped the head.

I would have it towed.


2.7 motor? Good luck. There is a reason there are a dozen 1999-2002 chryslers on CL for $300.

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So I switched the part out and it ran fine but it’s still overheated today? Do I have to bleed it? Would not bleeding it cause it to overheat?

The water outlet has a bleed screw on it to let the air out as you fill the system. Don’t drive the car with air in the cooling system.