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Daughter killed car?

93 Taurus 3.8 60,000 miles daughter drove till it stalled with white smoke coming out of tail pipe. i checked after coming home from trip to find radiator 1 gallon low and engine will not turn over even with socket on the nut on crankshaft pulley. Engine toast?

If you can’t turn the engine over with a big ratchet on the crank, then yeah probably toast.

…but I doubt its quite as simple as “daughter kills car.” She may have reduced or avoided damage by not continuing to drive it with an obvious problem. But it is doubtful that she created the underlying condition or overheating, blown head gasket, whatever.

So is the engine toast? Probably.

Did the daughter kill the car? Not likely so simple.

Did the daughter kill the car? Not likely so simple.
I don’t agree. The engine didn’t simply overheat. It was driven after overheating until it siezed. There is no surer way to kill an engine than by overheating it until it siezes.

Want to see something that will amaze you? Try and drain the oil out of the engine now. I’ll bet it has been boiled to the consistency of tar.

If you are very, very, very lucky, the cylinder where the head gasket blew filled up with coolant when the engine cooled and the engine is stuck on the compression stroke for that cylinder. Coolant being incompressible, it can be very hard to turn the engine under those circumstances.

Take the sparkplugs out and see if the engine will turn over. If it spins freely with no unpleasant noises, the engine may be OK … other than needing a new head gasket (lots of labor) and oil and coolant changes.

It would appear that many men and most women will continue to drive in spite of flashing lights and smoke and ominous noises, looking for a “safe” place to stop, preferably home. I will give cell phones credit for avoiding a few catastrophes but only when the call is made soon enough to someone knowledgeable who can offer a quick and comfortable relief from the stressful situation. Thousands of dollars damage has been done over the failure of a $2. piece of heater hose on a lonely road.

And customers ask me, “did I really need all those hoses?” The answer is “Yes.”

All I said is that the daughter didn’t make it overheat (or whatever - we have not even close to enough info to sort it out). There was an underlying condition that led to the overheating or whatever, and I doubt that she is responsible for that. (How well has this cooling system been maintained, for example?) In fact, depending on the entire situation if the daughter didn’t understand the warning signs that the car gave her, then she’s also not entirely responsible for continuing to drive it. We aren’t born knowing how to deal with cars - we have to be taught.

I just happen to have had a father, and now know many parents who somehow think that their kids are supposed to know all sorts of things without them ever having been taught. I also know many people who are blamers and always only see proximate causes. If I allow my house to be chewed up by termites, and it just so happens that my son slams the door a little hard one day and the door frame rips out of the wall, did my son wreck the door?

If I shoot someone because I didn’t know that guns shoot bullets, did I kill that person or did my parents kill him by not telling me that guns shoot bullets?

I’m saying that the daughter killed the engine. You can assign blame to whomever you like.

The “I think I can make it home” syndrome has killed more cars than any other reason…As long as the car will still move under its own power, people tend to keep driving them, regardless of how many red lights are lit…

Who let someone have access to a gun when they weren’t trained in its use and safety.

I’m just saying - you have pretty much no information whatsoever about the car, its history, its condition, the people involved or the series of events.

I’m not assigning blame to anyone. Other people are without the information that would be required to do so.

Yeah, it’s toast. The white smoke and the lost gallon suggest that the engine was overheated and driven until the head warped and the cylinders pulled coolant past the headgasket on the intake strokes. The seizing could have been from the oil being washed out of the cylinder(s) and/or overheating of the main bearings causing seizing.

This is a perfect opportunity to sit with your daughter and teach her the basics of responsible driving. There are lots of parents that teach their children how to operate a car and how to remain safe, but unfortunately very few who teach their children what to be aware of regarding the health of the car itself and what to do should something not be right.

I will use this opportunity to further the cause finding an honest and reliable shop and keeping a vehicle well maintained. And, back to that broken hose, I saw one of my mechanics cut the end off of a by-pass hose and reinstall it while doing a tune up. I picked up the piece of hose and saw the slight bulge adjacent to the clamp’s groove and gave the man a $20 bill. I appreciate my customers and I appreciate good mechanics who take care of my customers.

You’re a good man Rod. We need more of you.

We’ll have to disagree.

Apparently you believe that society shot the person in my gun analogy. I believe I shot the person in my gun analogy.

In the OP’s car scenario the daughter was driving the car, had ample warning that the engine was overheating (presumably, since there were surely temperature warning lights and/or gauges, along with smoke and performance issues) and didn’t stop the car. It was in her care, she was operating it. Operating it incorrectly, for whatever reason. Ok, you’re not assigning blame. I’m not either. I’m saying she killed it, either through negligence or ignorance.

Ohh sorry to hear that. You can go to the shop and let it checked.

Thanks everyone. I will remove the plugs and see if it will turn over. Daughter just happened to be in the car and she is responsible kid. Its hard getting older an realizing old poop tendencies are encroaching thank goodness for wives and our daughters. It is a good time to teach her more about cars and she teaches me too.

My brother revived a van that his business partner allowed to overheat and lock up the engine. My brother removed the spark plugs and poured liquid wrench into the cylinders. After letting the engine sit for a while, he used a breaker bar on the nut on the crankshaft pulley until he felt the engine start to move. He then kept bumping the starter until the engine would crank. He replaced the spark plugs and started it up. I think that the van ran another year until the transmission died. Maybe you will have the same luck my brother had.

Thank you Mountainbike. I have found it quite profitable to be fair and honest with my customers and my employees. Life has been kind to me and I try to pass it on.

Absolutely - “society” - I saw it just the other day, I believe on the corner of 10th & Main. That damn “society” - always doing this and doing that and telling people this and making people that…Then there’s all of that shooting that “society” does.

Well I’m done with it: 6 year old finds dad’s gun, thinks its a toy and shoots sister - string that little bastard up!! B/c it obvious that he actually shot the gun. As we all well know every single thing that ever happens anywhere is always very simply reduced to some single individual person’s actions and decisions. There is no context. There are never any other people around. No history. No circumstances that are relevant.

I don’t know how old this daughter is. I don’t know what she has been taught about cars or what is normal or not. I don’t know what actually happened to the car to have it end up blowing white smoke & seizing. I don’t know how far nor how long it was driven while blowing smoke. I don’t know what other warning signs were present. I don’t know these things because the OP did not say anything about any of it.

Is the car toast? Probably.

Whose “fault” is it? Well, without knowing anything that one would need to make some judgment about it here’s my guess:

  • proximate cause: 75% daughter / 25% mom and/or dad
  • ultimate cause: 100% mom or dad.

Best of luck on your efforts. As the father of four, one a daughter, I have some empathy for your situation. My daughter was a late in life surprise and although I was never wealthy I was able to spoil her. Now she is grown and realizes how lucky she was and thanks me often. We still laugh that she taught herself how to drive a stick shift but it took 2 clutches. Life can be good. Sometimes it’s a little difficult, though.