I say smoke and smelled a terrible smell, drove about a total of two miles, going straight home. I opened to hood and found the plastic water container was completely dry and the cap was missing (I had the car serviced about three weeks before) Did I do any permenant damage? Should I have stopped at the side of the road instead of driving that mile to get home?
What did the TEMP gauge on in your instrument cluster show? What was the enginge temp?
Did you get a Check Engine light coming on or blinking?
If you even suspect that your car may be too hot or overheating, turn the climate control to the hottest heat setting, pull over where it’s safe and shut off the car ASAP. If it overheats, the engine will die an expensive death.
I’m not sure why your post it titled “Maintenance.” Did you forget to maintain the cooling system?
temp gauge stayed at center and check engine light did not come on or flash - posted under maintenance because I was not sure where else to post this, as I had just had the auto serviced three weeks ago, I guess I am trying to blame the shop were it was serviced and I used to trust
“The cap was missing.” Was this a pressurized cap? Did you go back to the shop and get this cap back? Is coolant at the correct level now? If the shop forgot to put the cap back on, maybe coolant was getting onto the hot engine or exhaust manifold and this is what you were smelling.
Make sure your coolant is at correct level with no air in the system and it’s all sealed up with the correct cap. Car apparently didn’t overheat so no damage done.
Every time you get your car worked on, take a look under the hood for any possible missing parts or fluid. Check the oil level, oil cap, coolant level, brake fluid level. Assume some responsibility for your car. Always assume that the expert overlooked something simple. It will save you trouble and money.
If you had the car serviced recently and they forgot to replace the coolant cap on your pressurized overflow (nearly all, if not all, Tauruses have a pressurized overflow), you can take the car back to them and they will get you a new cap. Many times your old one can be found somewhere under your hood. It is unlikely you did any serious damage, but it is worth investigating. Any good shop will take responsibility and help you out here if they touched the car recently. There is no need for you to shatter your trust in this shop because of a goof like this. Everybody is human and everybody makes mistakes. If you were a mechanic and worked on dozens of cars a week to hundreds of cars a month, you would probably make an error on one of them somewhere along the line. I know I have.
You state 2 miles and also 1 mile. In theory, a Taurus should not be hurt much if at all by either distance if there was any coolant in it at all and this distance did not involve a number of stops, etc.
You should definitely confront the shop that serviced the vehicle IF the service had anything to do with the cooling system.