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Car overheated won't start

My temp gauge was fine then all of a sudden shot up from halfway to red line and my car died instantly. Starter is going but engine won’t even try to turn over. There was no smoke. Water looks dirty but plenty of it. Oil still looks new. 2011 mitsubishi eclipse 4 cylinder. What am i looking at in either repairs or is it a safety thing and how do i reset it?

“Starter is going but engine won’t even try to turn over.”

Please clarify this

Are you saying the engine is cranking over just fine, but the engine is not starting?

Are you saying the starter is turning, but the engine is not turning over?

You might want to make sure the engine isn’t locked up . . . try to turn over the engine by hand, using a 1/2" drive breaker bar, and the appropriate sized socket

Its not cranking at all, just the whining of the starter.

So we know the starter is getting proper power and ground . . .

The next thing I’d do is try to manually turn over the engine by hand, as I described above. And don’t just try to see if it will budge and inch or so, but try to turn it over a few times.

If the engine is locked up, it may have happened as a result of the overheating

Automatic or manual?

It is a Manual tranny

Update, radiator completely dry, put a case of water and constant trying to start has the engine taking in water. Possibly a fail safe that wont let it start until theres enough? Putting another case in it now.

A case of water? Are you filling the cooling system with drinking water? I use tap water when checking damaged engines. If you drove without coolant until until the engine quit the cylinder head is warped beyond repair.

Yea, we found water coming out of the exhaust, looks like I’ve got a engine to take apart. Thanks guys.

The fact that you even think there might be some kind of “low water fail safe” and there is water coming out of the exhaust. Tells me you are way over your head on this and should not be taking anything apart. You need to see some one who actually knows what they are doing, you know, like a mechanic.


I really have to doubt if the OP has the technical knowledge that is required for this major repair if he thinks that there is a “low water fail safe” feature on his car.


Try removing the spark plugs and turning the crank by hand (using the crank bolt). If it’s frozen, the engine is seized. Sorry.


Same thinking here, motor seized starter motor busted tooth on motor or flywheel, so starter spins but no crank

Typically the engine cranks fast with no compression after overheating like this, it’s just hard for the owner to see this from the drivers seat. A broken flywheel is unlikely.

If the engine seized and the OP kept trying to get it to turn over and start, a busted flywheel tooth would not be surprising as secondary damage.

I hope the OP posts back and lets us know when he/she gets the diagnosis.

@Nevada_545 Then give me your interpretation from the OP
"Its not cranking at all, just the whining of the starter."
Does not sound like cranks fast, engine is not cranking dude get off your vendetta.

That is what the engine will sound like with no compression after overheating. That is the typical observation by someone from the drivers seat. The OP gave an update, the radiator was empty and refilling it resulted in water leaking from the exhaust.


Most likely is the engine overheated, is badly damaged, & needs major and costly repairs or probably the better method, replaced with a used engine. But don’t assume. No need to guess. If you have been living a good life maybe it is something less costly than all that. Just b/c there is water coming out the tailpipe doesn’t necessarily mean the engine is toast. Water comes out the tailpipe on properly working cars too, during the start up phase. And gasoline can come out the tailpipe sometimes if the ignition system isn’t working. Best advice is that given above, take it to a pro mechanic for a proper diagnosis before making further assumptions.

Ok, i have the head taken off, valves were moving, the head itself looks fine going to take it to a shop to check if there are cracks i cant see or for warp. Valves are fine, head gasket was split in the middle causing the water out the exhaust part. When I said the starter was going but no engine, it sounds exactly like the engine was flooded. The engine was actually going but with no compression. Water was in the cylinders. But other than the cracked gasket, no other visible damage.

Considering there was water in the cylinders, I hope you didn’t bend a rod :fearful:

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