No Radiator fluid circulating on 92 Honda Civic

92 Honda Civic, it has been steaming under the hood when i drive it and it’s going into the overflow tank. When I pull the cap off after it’s cooled down and then refill it. I watch to see if it’s flowing and it’s not. My initial thought was maybe a bad water pump, however I spoke with someone today that said it could very well be the head gasket. I am tending to lean this way now as well, as there is fluid on the ground after I park it. I put down some cardboard so the next time I drive it, I can see where it’s coming from… Before I spend any money I want to exhaust the basics. I know I can get a combustion leak test kit to ultimately determine it.

Any additional thoughts on this is greatly appreciated…

You don’t need a test kit.

When the engine is cold, remove the radiator cap. Start the engine and watch the coolant in the radiator. If bubbles start to form in the coolant as the engine idles, that’s an indication of a breached head gasket.


Thanks for the tip…got bubbles.

Got a blown head gasket.


1992 Civic…R.I.P.

Agree, sounds like the headgasket

Bubbles are from a blown head gasket, not a stuck thermostat.

An air pocket forms in the cooling system that stops the flow of coolant. In mine, it wouldn’t overcome the bubble until you hit the highway and there was enough push to overcome it. Slow down and it would overheat again. Replaced head gaskets, replaced engine, replaced car.

Agree w/others here, bubbles in the coolant, bubbling up in the radiator is definitely a sign of a head gasket problem. I suppose you could get lucky, and it is just somehow air got into the coolant. Not likely, but people win lotteries, and that isn’t likely.

Sometimes it is hard to see the coolant flow even if it is flowing, depends how the radiator is configured. If you can’t look inside the radiator and see the top inlet b/c it is on the other side of the radiator from the cap, that makes it difficult. One thing that can be done in that situation is to remove the top hose temporarily (when the engine is cold), put a bucket under it, then idle the engine. In 5-10 minutes the thermostat should open and water should pour from that hose into the bucket. Stop the test at that point as all the coolant in the engine is draining into the bucket of course.

I wouldn’t say RIP if the issue is blown head gasket. Before sending it to the grave, and as a last solution (assuming you are not going to shell out $$ to fix the 21 year old car) Seriously try the gasket repair stuff from your autoparts store. It only costs 10-20 bucks and can buy you a couple of months or even a couple of years.

For this age car, you have nothing to lose. (I wouldn’t do this to a valuable car as I would fix the gasket) Also know that once the seal is made, change out the fluid after 500 miles. You may have success again with the same process if another breach is made down the road, so be aware. …and report back.