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Overheating 2011 kia sorento

Hi, any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I had an emissions test done. Passed. right after, i drove it a block away parked it. Noticed a very small fresh green puddle of coolant on the ground from my car. Terrified the auto shop may have intentionally damaged something to try and get more business… looked under car ,couldn’t see where the drip was coming from. Next day, driving, not far, notice steam coming from under hood. Immediately see temperature gauge is maxed out, IMMEDIATELY pull over, raise hood, plastic coolant container looks empty. Wait, pour water in it, start engine, finish filling it with water ( don’t have any antifreeze ), attempt to drive back home, heats all the way back up with in one mile. Have it towed back. No idea what in the world is wrong. 130k miles

There’s a leak in the cooling system that has not been fixed. There may still be air in the system after you added water. In some cars, setting the heater to Hot needs to be done, to let the coolant flow all the way through the system. Also idling the engine with the radiator cap off, to let air out. But it sounds like you need a proper diagnosis and repair done, and soon. Running an overheated engine can do a lot of damage.

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Unfortunately pouring cold water into a hot block can crack it. In the future when adding water or antifreeze to a hot engine have it running, Adding when the engine is cool no problem. Your coolant tank would probably not hold enough or even transfer to the engine block, Hard to tell from the internet, keep us posted. Sounds like you blew out all the coolant in the engine.

If I knew I had coolant leak I might be glancing at temp gauge more often. I always wonder why folks only see it when it hits max?

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Thanks for the replies. Going to replace coolant thermostat and see if that makes a difference. How much (guesstimating) would it cost to have the coolant system checked for leaks and if found fixed?

Are you sure the leak is at the thermostat housing?
As far as cost, will depend on the shop you take it to.
Some will charge a fee, some will waive the fee if repaired in their shop, if source of leak is obvious, may be no charge.
Cost? Totally depends on what is leaking and whether the part can be repaired or replaced.

I have no idea what is leaking. There is some kind of hard plastic shielding under the front of the engine compartment that prevents me from seeing the leak. The only reason i mentioned replacing the thermostat is because my dad said just do that first because they’re only 5 -10 dollars and it might be stuck or something.

Also, i just bought this car a month ago at a copart auction, because my last car was a lemon, an oldsmobile alero 2002. Fixed it a dozen times. I just got it back from the shop a week ago. Now it runs and drives again but has a bouncy left and right wobble til i get past 40 mph… i’m trying to sell it and worried nobody will buy it because of that and have zero clue as to what is causing it. I could use any insight as to that as well.

From your post I gather you don’t know much about cars and are extremely suspicious about mechanics and would like to spend a very small amount of money on something that probably won’t fix it and risk further damaging your engine rather than pay a competent shop for a diagnosis. If the emissions testing shop was willing to damage your car to get more work, they would have pointed out a problem while you were there rather than let you drive off and hope you return to them.

You need to have this car looked at by a local mechanic but if you can’t bring yourself to trust one I fear you are going to keep shooting yourself in the foot.

If you don’t know a good local mechanic, look i the mechanics files at the top of the page.

It is not clear if the car that overheated is the 2002 Alero, but if it is, I would not expect great things from a 17 year old car I bought at auction. Ordinary cars in gret condition seldom go to auction.

I titled this post “overheating 2011 kia sorento”.

If i had an unlimited bank account i would be happy to throw thousands of dollars away, unfortunately, that is not the case. Which is why i’m using this forum.

If you want to replace the thermostat and are going to do it yourself, fine. But be aware, you will also need new coolant that is compatible with your engine. There may be a specific technique required to remove air (burp) from your cooling system. Then after all that I would guess there is a 99.9% chance you will still have a leak.
In the long run it is more economical to have a proper diagnosis and repair performed. If and when the engine overheats again you may end up with a catastrophic failure resulting in the need for a new engine.
You did the right thing initially, stopping the car immediately when it overheated, then waiting to add water. As far as your fear the shop deliberately damaging your cooling system to generate income, highly doubtful.

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Thank you. I will see that i can do and then respond when i know more.