Gurgling/overheating 99 Camry

I started hearing a gurgling sound from under the hood of my car. It sounds like some sort of fluid rushing. Today, I noticed that my car was overheating. I took to have the coolant topped off. The guy there said that it was probably a radiator leak because the radiator was “sweating”. It’s still making the same sound and but isn’t currently overheating. What could be the causes of all this and is it worth repairing in such an old car? It’s starting to seem like it’s time to get a newer car.

Well, the cause could be the radiator leaking - ?

Or it could be a leak in any number of other places - some minor (like a hose) and some major (like a head gasket).

The only thing you can do is bring it someplace and have someone find out. What you want is to find your best local “radiator shop” - there are places that specialize in automotive HVAC. They can pressure test your system to find the problem.

How much coolant needed to be added? How high did your temp gauge get? Did it hit the red? If so, for how long?

Well, this problem is pretty straightforward. The gurgling sound you hear is water boiling. Not good. Your car will start overheating again in a few days when more coolant escapes through the leak.

The cure is also straightforward – replace the radiator. Do this before you ruin the engine. This is a far more economical solution than replacing the entire car.

Old cars need repairs because things inside get old and wear out. A radiator is one of them. I wouldn’t condemn the car just because of the radiator leak, but if you damaged the engine by driving it when it was overheating, the decision may already have been made for you. If you are just talking about the radiator being worth replacing - it depends. Does the car need a lot of other things now? Or would you rather have a newer car because you don’t think this one is reliable?

When I have had cars gurgle at me, both times it was the head gasket leaking pressure from inside the engine out into the cooling system. This is a very spendy repair, but if your car is otherwise in good enough shape, it may be worth having done by a reputable mechanic as opposed to trying to find a replacement car of the same or better quality than your car was in before theoverheating incident. Note - when this happens, O2 sensors tend to get fouled - so when the gasket is properly repaired, a later “follow up” failure in the emission control system is not unlikely.

The gurgling happens when I first pull out of a parking spot so I don’t think it’s boiling water. I had someone look at it and he didn’t find a radiator leak but isn’t set up to do pressure testing of the system. The only reason I wonder about fixing vs getting something else is that I just (in July) had to spend a ton of money to get something else fixed. It’s old and parts are just starting to wear out. I’d prefer to keep it rather than have to make a car payment.

You need to get the whole cooling system pressure tested. Stop guessing and get this fixed.