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Neon Overheating

I tried a search to see if this was addressed previously but didn’t see a posting specific to my car. I have a’99 Dodge Neon. I’ve been told Neons have a rep for overheating. This is true of mine. I live in Phoenix, so it gets to be about 115 during the summer. Last summer we replaced the radiator and the water pump. After driving out of the shop, about 5 miles down the road, the darn thing overheats. We took it to another mechanic and checked all the “usual suspects” and he said it was fine and didn’t know what the cause was. We made it through last summer, going out with a bang, smoke coming out of the hood. The summer is upon us again, today’s high is 112! And we’re back where we started. It’s overheating (or the bell is dinging) after on 10-15 min of driving. I don’t know what else to do with this car. I have a 6 month old and we use this car to take her back and forth to the sitter, but we don’t trust it.

An ideas??

If it overheated 5 miles after coming out of the shop you should have taken it back, but that is water under the bridge and may it be a lesson to you. Replace the thermostat if not yet done.

From what you have mentioned, that the radiator and water pump were replaced, the thermostat was not included, suprises me.

Your research didn’t have to specify NEON. Overheating causes, and cures, are rather universal.
A couple of the causes are: radiator is low on coolant; thermostat is stuck closed; radiator cooling fans aren’t coming on; external coolant leaks (hoses, or heater core leaks [even in the summer]; head-gasket coolant leak (internally, or externally).

Besides the thermostat, a bad radiator cap may cause overheating if it is unable to maintain proper cooling system pressure. Since they’re relatively inexpensive, I change the radiator cap on my cars at the same time as the coolant (~3 years).

Ed B.

These cars are noted to have head gasket failures. Did they check for that first???

what type of mechanic did this work? a discount chain, or dealership?

I hate to say it, but the rumors you have heard about Neons and heat may be true. These cars perform very well in temperatures up to about 95F (35C) but do have a tendency to overheat in hotter weather when driven hard with the A/C on. No doubt the problem is excaberated with age, as some scale might build up inside the radiator coils. Oh, you said you replaced the radiator last year.

So your car should do fine in moderate heat but not extreme heat. For such conditions, at least protect the car’s engine by opening all windows and making do without the A/C.

One thing you might try is to remove all the antifreeze coolant, replace the thermostat, and Pressure cap. Then fill system back up with only water, and Red Line Water Wetter. If this works maybe someone else with experience using watter Wetter will know if there is any long term problems using water wetter in place of antifreeze, other then not having freeze protection.

Here is the Link