Need help quickly, trying to get back home

Last night my car had the service engine soon light and the battery light come on. Then it started to overheat and said low oil pressure. Then it reduced my engine power and made it difficult to steer. I added coolant and oil once it cooler. This morning it heated sort of quickly and the service engine light and battery light were still on and still was difficult to steer. I am trying to figure out the problem, I am 400 miles from home and not sure if I can still drive it or not? I am hoping it’s an easy fix. If anyone can give me some info it would be greatly appreciated

Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be, and it is very likely that there are multiple problems at this point.

That would seem to imply that you continued to drive it after the low oil pressure warning light lit up. (If that interpretation is wrong, please correct me)

When that warning light came on, you should have immediately gotten off the road and shut the engine down. If you continued to run the engine–even with reduced power–for more than a few seconds, it is very likely that the engine has sustained serious damage.

Getting repair work on a Sunday is not likely, so I think you have no choice but to stay where you are until tomorrow, at which point the car should be towed to a competent mechanic’s shop (NOT Midas, Meineke, Monro, Pep Boys, Sears, AAMCO, or a tire shop!) for evaluation. If you attempt to drive it at this point, you will probably not get very far before breakdown takes place.


I turned it off and sat for about 20 minutes then took it to a gas station to get the coolant and oil. Then I took it to the hotel I am at. I drove it cause I didn’t know what else to do

I was on a freeway when it happened. So I got off and sat for 20min. Then I drove it to a gas station and sat for another 25 min. Then drove it to a school and let it sit for about 35 min. Then I drove it to the hotel I am at now and let it sit overnight

Look inside the radiator…is there any coolant in there?

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Yes. I added coolant and there is some. There is also oil on the dip stick.

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We don’t know the model, model year, and make of your vehicle, but–if you are very lucky–it is entirely possible that the overheating and steering difficulty are the result of a serpentine belt that snapped. That would be the easy part. Unfortunately, I am not very optimistic about the engine if you continued to drive for more than a few seconds with dangerously low oil pressure.

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The coolant must have spilled everywhere and dripped some on the accessory belts. The power steering belt must have slipped when it contacted the coolant.

It’s a 2005 mercury mountaineer. I was on a freeway when it happened. I got off and sat on the side of the road for about 20 min. I slowly got it to a gas station and waited for about 25 min before adding the oil and coolant. I tried going back home but stopped at a school when it overheated more. Sat there for about 35 min and then I drove it to a hotel where it sat overnight. It still has coolant and oil

I didn’t see any major spots on ground after I added everything. Would it be safe for me to try and drive some irndobu need to wait till tomorrow

No, because there is a good chance you will destroy your engine.

I wish you sincere good luck, but I think you will have to make a major decision regarding the engine. If–as I suspect–the mechanic finds that the engine has been destroyed by overheating and low oil pressure, you will have to decide whether it is a good financial decision to overhaul or replace the engine of a 16 year old vehicle. The overheating could also have damaged the transmission, so the necessary repairs could well exceed the vehicle’s book value.

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Would it make sense to junk it and see about getting a new vehicle then? Like I am Indiana and am 400 miles from home and 63 miles from a bus station, I have no family close enough so I am super torn on what to do

I can well understand how you are torn on this issue. But, in order to make a rational decision I think that you should wait until a competent mechanic can examine the engine.

If you are very lucky, you may be able to limp home with just a replaced belt, coolant, and oil, and then you can make a decision regarding further repair (or vehicle replacement) in familiar surroundings.

Buying a used car can be dicey, but buying one in a hurry–in a place where you are not familiar with the sellers–is even more dicey.


How much oil and coolant did you have to add?

Raise the hood and check if the drive belt is turning the pulleys.

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A whole bottle of each

There is a belt that is just dangling

That is why the battery light is on. The battery will soon become discharged and the engine will stall. You need to get what caused the belt to break repaired. The alternator or water pump may have seized.

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So if I get the belt back on there is a chance that nothing could be majorly wrong