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Overheated engine blows head gasket

I have a hyundai elantra 2005 with over 200K mi. last month it started overheating. I could not go a mile before it reached H again. No one could find any leaks and fan would go on if I put the AC on. Yet it would get so hot the car wouldn’t start ( sounded like it was out of gas) I finally got to my mechanic and they said and showed me the fan had cracked and was bubbling water/coolant out. It had been okay could I have made it crack by still driving it? I stopped everytime and let it cool down… They replaced fan but car was still going to H immediately. They then told me I had blown the head gasket. Between that and the fan it cost me 1100.00 I just got it back today and the AC is blowing hot air and it is driving oddly. It lurches and the tach sometimes jumps to 3 while I’m driving. they also replaced the timing belt again which the mechanic there had just did a few months ago. It feels like its going to stall out all the time and when I get around the 60 mph mark it lurches or feels like its not even in gear as though I’m revving it. Could this be normal because the head gasket is new and has to break in?

                                                                             worried to drive 

                                                                          thanks for any info 


Personally, I don’t think any repairs at all should be done on a severely overheating engine with over 200k miles on it without some careful thought and a compression test.
A comp. test will show abnormally low on the cylinders with a head gasket breach but what one would really be looking for would be signs of piston ring and valve face/seat problems. Rings and valves can be seriously affected by severe overheating so things like this need to be verified as part of Step One instead of using a shotgun approach.

What would I do? Run a compression test and determine if 1100 dollars has been flushed down the drain. Readings should be in the 170-180 PSI range. (allowing for high miles here) Hope that helps and good luck.

When you overheated the engine on numerous occations it probably also overheated the transmission because the transmission fluid runs thru a cooler in the radiator. Pull the dipstick out of transmission to check the color of the fluid. If it’s dark brown/black in color the transmission was overheated also and that’s why the engine is reving because the transmission is slipping.


Perhaps this is obvious now, but you should keep in mind for the future that a car with an overheating engine needs immediate attention. Repeated overheating can easily cause serious engine damage.

The motor is likely trashed.

Running a modern motor near H on temp guage repeatly just to make it and save the $100+ tow/hasssle turns into a $2000-$3500 engine replacement ordeal.

Its possible the head is warped.

Sorry about all this.

Thanks for all the info How long do you think the car will run if the compression is bad.

There’s really no way for us to predict that without you sending one of us the engine so we can tear it apart and see exactly what’s damaged. At which point we’d fix it, charge you enough to buy ourselves a boat, and tell you it’ll run a good long while :wink:

To be serious, we can’t see the damage that your engine has endured. It might die halfway home tonight, and it might run (like crap) for the next 4 years. Just no way of knowing from here.

I did need a 02 sensor and the light is still on however it never affected the idle before the head gasket was installed. I wonder if the distributor cap might have been damaged. I know a bad cap could cause it to stall and idle rough.

The O2 was probably killed by the overheating and coolant being admitted into the exhaust stream. There’s a good chance this coolant may have also killed the catalytic converter.

One can throw parts at this car all day long without accomplishing anything so my opinion still is to run a compression test and determine whether the car is worth keeping or whether it was 1100 dollars wasted.

Thanks, I checked the tranny fluid and it is pretty dark I can’t tell if it smells burned or not but am still getting it changed. While there I’ll see if he can do compression test. I had no idea that the transmission could have been affected from the head gasket. Great tip thanks again!

Honestly, IMHO your engine has probably been trashed from being repeatedly and severely overheated (it’ll do more damage than just a headgasket), and your symptoms of
"It lurches and the tach sometimes jumps to 3 while I’m driving" and
"It feels like its going to stall out all the time and when I get around the 60 mph mark it lurches or feels like its not even in gear as though I’m revving it."
combined with the black tranny fluid suggest serious tranny damage.

It’s unfortunate, but I think you’ll discover that the $1100 was wasted. I would not spend another dime on repairs until both the engine and tranny were evaluated thoroughly and the total damages were estimated. I think you’re looking at some real money here.

Sorry to be the one to break the news.

Do yourself a favor and don’t sink a lot of money into this car.

You may be able to get a few more months out of it with a trans fluid change and other maintenance repair procedures, but as ok4450 suggested, thowing parts (and maintenance) at this high odometer mileage car with an abused engine (and transmission?) is not likely to be a case of good economics.

A compression test will tell you a lot about the actual condition of the engine at this point. If the readings are low, it does not make much sense to spend any money on trans repairs at this point.

An Elantra with over 200k on the odometer and probable damage to the engine and transmission has very little book value. Either major engine damage or major transmission damage makes it economically unsound to sink any more money into this car.

Does it really make sense to “invest” money in a car with such a low book value? I suggest that you cut your losses and just drive this car until it dies, while simultaneously shopping for a replacement vehicle.