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Car overheating

My car just overheated, started whining, then smoke came out from under the hood. I got out and am letting it cool down. Anti-freeze dripped out under the engine onto the driveway. My husband says my thermostat must have a problem.

Do you think I ruined anything while continuing to drive while the temperature climbed? I was on the expressway 100 miles from home and just kept checking the temperature to make sure it didn’t overheat. A block from home it finally went completely to the “H” for Hot and started whining. I made it home and parked in the driveway.

Should I have added any water on the trip while it was overheating? My husband said no.

Is there anything I should have done on the 100 miles home? We stopped once at a gas station and then when we started the car again, it had cooled down to almost normal.

Do you think I will need to just have a new thermostat installed or will I need to pay for other things, too?

The whining and leaking suggests to me that it’s the water pump, although changing the thermostat is an excellent thing to do anyways, as they are cheap and do wear out. If you have a car with a water pump driven by an external belt, it’s a relatively minor repair. If you have a car where the water pump is run off of the timing belt, it will be more involved, although the timing belt is a very important maintenance item you were probably due for anyways. If you didn’t drive for any real distance with the temp gauge all the way on “H”, chances are you haven’t caused any permanent engine damage, although when you drive a car that’s overheating you always have that risk.

unfortunately we’re not in kansas any more, there is no prince charming to wake us up, and the chariot will still be a pumpkin in the morning. all joshing aside snow white:

it would surprise me if you didn’t damage your engine running for 100 miles with a “rising” thermostat, and “noise.”

you risk further damage driving it to the shop to have it repaired. (unless the “shop” is your garage, and the hubby the mechanic) have it towed to get diagnosed.

until it is looked at by a mechanic to determine if there is one or more of: a blown radiator hose, radiator, water pump failure, thermostat failure or a cracked block one could NOT give an estimation as to how much, or what is wrong.

it coudl be something as simple as a $10 thermostat, a $10 radiator cap, or more expensive problems. without proper diagnosis we won’t know.

Also, if the vehicle is equipped with an automatic transmission, that also has been overheated. The transmission fluid is cooled by a heat exchanger located in the radiator. If the engine begins to overheat, the transmission fluid has no way to expell it’s heat, and starts to absorb the heat from the overheated coolant. This then causes the transmission to overheat which damages the transmission.

Most people don’t think of this as they continue to drive a vehicle that’s overheating.


There’s more but no way to list possible solutions without knowing what car, truck or year.