radiator crack next to cap. could this cause peripheral damage to motor, i.e. head gasket meltdown. car temp. gauge never registered hot, however radiator spewed steam. put in new radiator. how can i tell if i damaged engine by driving it overheated?
Just start the engine and drive the car. You’ll know at once if anything is wrong.
The chances are that the engine was totally unaffected by the radiator malfunction. If the car runs smoothly enough you can just quit worrying, or you can have a mechanic do a compression check on each cylinder.
As long as the gauge is working properly and the coolant level didn’t get too low (below the level of the coolant temperature sensor), you should be fine. However, some engines are more sensitive to overheating than others. What kind of car, which engine, and how many miles on the car?
Regardless, keep a close eye on your coolant and oil levels and condition for a while. If you start using more oil or any coolant or there are signs of oil and coolant mixing, you have a problem.
The radiator damage may have been done by a head gasket that failed first. Some engines have a head higher than the radiator and localized heating can cause damage that does not register significantly on the temp gauge. Problems should be apparent, but may not show up for 6 months.