Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Car overheating :(

Okay guys, bear with me. I know next to NOTHING about cars… im 24 and this is my first car …
My car is a 99 honda accord v6 EX (coupe)
It started overheating about 2-3months ago. I was driving along and the needle on the gauge was completely on hot. I was able to make it home. Ive basically been driving it this whole time with the defrost on 80 and on full blast. Which keeps it around the halfway mark between hot and cold. I had a friend change my thermostat … didnt fix it. Still overheats. But after he did that it seems to get hotter faster now. When im at a stoplight it gets as hot as the gauge will let it go, then when I start driving again it cools down a little. Now, after he changed the thermostat the car has been driving really rough. When I slow down to stop, it’ll jerk a couple lightly then stop. When I accelerate from a stopped position it’ll jerk a little then go. And when it shifts gears(its an automatic) it jerks veryyy noticeably. So now im freaking out worrying my transmission is going too. So I guess what im wanting to know is … wtf is wrong with it??? Water pump? Ive been told if I change the water pump I need to have them change the timing belt too … yes? How expensive is that kind of work? The only reason I havent had it fixed yet is because im BROKE. Im trying to scrape together some money, but id like to know around what price range im looking at. Anything I can do to help it In the meantime? Any and all advice/knowledgeable/suggestions are appreciated!!!

Also it has almost 250k miles on it

With the engine cold, remove the radiator cap from the radiator.

Start the engine and while it’s idling watch the coolant in the radiator to see if any bubbles start forming in the coolant. If they do it’s an indication of a breached head gasket.


When it is hot, check to see if the cooling fan is running. I’ll bet it isn’t.

“it gets as hot as the gauge will let it go”

250,000 miles on the engine and you’ve been overheating it for 2-3 months? I would stop at this point. Even if you haven’t blown a head gasket yet, chances are that’s not too far away. Even if you find and fix a fan or radiator issue, I’d never trust this engine again knowing how bad it’s been overheated.

My fans are running, and ive been checking the coolant, it doesnt seem to be losing any fluids. If I wasnt in such a dire situation I definitely wouldnt be driving it, trust me.

When the temperature gauge starts approaching “H” it means to pull over and shut the engine down, and not try to make it home. Overheating an engine can cause the head gasket to fail and or cause piston ring damage !

If the cooling fan fails to go on it will overheat faster at idle then going down the interstate at 65 miles per hour…I am going with Tester and BustedKnuckles on this one as these are 2 smart guys on here along with some others. You need to start this vehicle up and let it idle and watch the temp gauge…If it goes past 3/4 of the way up and the cooling fans do not come on you need to find out why…either a bad fan or a bad cooling temp sensor or relay…If they do come on, your radiator may need replacement if the car has a lot of miles on it.

I took ownership of my late dads 74 Nova which had only 35k on the clock.After getting in on the road here in hot Florida it would start to overheat even going down the highway temp would hit about 240 and start to boil over at idle…I took the thermostat out which delayed the overheating but still did it…It ended up being the radiator which was original…Replaced that and a new 180 degree stat and no more problems…car still had the original water pump and still running strong after 4 years here.has the 250 c.i inline 6 which are just about bullet proof…Never had to worry about a blown head gasket as these engines were work horses and you could boil them over without any problems.

If your car is now overheating faster with the new thermostat, your friend may have put a higher temperature one in ( before it opens to allow coolant into the radiator )…DO NOT CONTINUE TO DRIVE IF THE GAUGE GETS NEAR “HOT”…Driving the car that extra distance to get home “MAY” have caused a breech in the head gasket and hot exhaust gasses are now entering the cooling system. Not a cheap fix.

Take your car to a good independently owned mechanic shop and just tell him its overheating and you did change the thermostat…( stay away from the chain stores ) he can check everything for you…Also stay away from the dealer which will save you some $$$$

I almsot have no choice. If I can’t find the funds to fix what ever is wrong with it, ill end up having to drive it into the ground. I dont have any family here, since the shutdown business has been slow for me. I have about $30 to my name. Like I said, im trying to scrape together some money so I can atleast figure out what exactly it needs. Its my only car, gotta get to work, the bus system isnt what it should be here unfortunately. I appreciate all the feedback guys, thank you!

If both fans run, then the problem is likely the radiator. It may be plugged up. It should be removed and flow tested.

Turn on the AC and both fans should be running. If only one is running, then you need a new fan. The next thing I would do is just replace the radiator cap.

When the gauge is showing hot and you shut down the engine, do you hear the fan come on a few seconds later? Here is a test to do, when you stop and the engine is near the hot zone, open the hood and see if the fan is running with the AC off. The shut down the engine and see if the fan stops for a second or two (up to 60 seconds) and then starts right back up. If it doesn’t do this, then either there is a fault in the fan circuit or you are not really overheating.

Note: if it take 10-60 seconds before the fan comes back on, then the engine was at normal temperature when it was shut down.

UPDATE - sooo I took it to a shop today. Turns out my car was never overheating! My actual gauge in my dash is not working properly. sigh of relief