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Overheating Honda accord

Well, I’ve been to the shop that replaced the radiator, the water pump and for good measure the timing belt, that was 'bout six months ago. They just want more $ to put some sealant in, or to FLUSH more $ down the perverbial tube. She goes short drives w/o overheating, then she slowly heats up. If I drive the frwy she climbs into the red. No white smoke in the exhaust…head gasket, right? All fluids fine except for little water…then when I checked tran fluid, come to find it slightly low. This was after a recent ez-lube job.Thermastat may be broken in the open position, that’s ok, yes? Could it be my transmission?

Give me some other options please


What year and how many miles on that Accord? When was the last time the radiator was serviced (new fluid)? How long have you had these problems?

No white smoke in the exhaust…head gasket, right? Maybe maybe not, you need to have specific test.

All fluids fine except for little water… You should not need any water added.

.then when I checked tran fluid, come to find it slightly low. When was the last time the transmission fluid was changed?

This was after a recent ez-lube job. Avoid all contact with any fast lube place if you value your car.

Thermastat may be broken in the open position, that’s ok, yes? NO. If it was not needed, I can assure you the bean counters at Honda would have eliminated it long ago.

Give me some other options please You have plenty of options already, what you need to do now is to start eliminating them.

Could it be my transmission? It could, but it is not likely.

Thank you Mr.Meehan for giving me hope.:slight_smile:

What year and how many miles on that Accord?
1994 Honda accord 4 door sedan lx. Miles…the odometer stopped counting at 104,000, that was several months ago but I was assured that b/c she had no other symptoms that this was most likely the sensor.
I estimate approx. miles 125,000 tops. I know that was wrong, but they told me it would be every much $$$ to find this out and being a pay check to paycheck individual…well I won’t bore you.

Maybe head gasket,maybe not, you need to have specific test.
What test and after what other possible problems are eliminated?

You should not need any water added.
I meant the green antifreeze and not alot of it but wouldn’t the overheating cause evaporation when the engine is too hot? Pardon my ignorance but I’m willing to learn how these mechanism work.

When was the last time the transmission fluid was changed?
I do believe that was done 'round the time the odometer failed.

I promise to follow your advice to the letter and avoid all contact with any fast lube places from this day forward.

Now,as for the thermostat being broken, I was told that if the big hose that sends the coolant from the rad to cool the engine is soft when the motor is running,but still cold, then the thermostat valve is stuck(broken)in the open position, then the flow is unobstructed versus in the closed position causing no flow.It sounded good at the time, I guess that’s a NO? Well I tried this and it squeezed soft so then is this test more bologna?

What do I need to do now to start eliminating the non problems and find the culprit?

I’m willing to do some work 'cause I really can’t put out big bucks!

Sincere thanks,

You’ve already taken the first step by promising not to go to EZ-lube joints ever again.

Now you need to find a reputable independently owned and operated repair shop, tell them the history, and let the tech do the diagnosis.

My feeling on this particular set of symptoms is that they’ll probably want to change the thermostat, perhaps the radiator cap, check for evidence of a headgasket leak (in truth they’ll probably just check the coolant for presence of hydrocarbon contamination and that’s sufficient for a start), and they may even want to check the flow from the water pump. These parts and operations are all pretty affordable even when added up.

But I emphasize, find a reputable shop and let the tech do the diagnosis.

Any of these simple items, a thermostat stuck half way open, a radiator cap that no longer holds pressure, and a water pump with eroded impellars, could be the source of the problem. Since it’s overheating on the highway the fan is good, but it takes a matter of seconds to check that, so he likely will anyway. There is a possibility of a leaky headgasket, and if he rules out the simple stuff he may do a pressure leakdown test of the cylinders. Again, that’s not difficult on that engine.

It’s not the tranny, although that may be overdue for sevicing.

Post back with the results.

This symptom may point to a head gasket leak. You want to eliminate lesser stuff before hand.

The shop probably wants to use (I forget the name of it) a newer failed head gasket sealant that’s pretty expensive. It’s over $130, if I recall correctly.

The test being discussed is for the detection of combustion gasses in the coolant. It’s not cheap either for the reactive dye but substantially less than that special sealant.

Oh Boy…So much has happened since last I posted. Well to begin with I replaced the transmission, waterpump, timing belt, brake cylinder and the distributor. She was given the royal treatment…or so I thought! Then I ventured out on a trip to the mountains thinking what could possibly go wrong? I did not consider the law of Murphy. I also got new speakers 'cause they had’nt worked for 2 years. Fifty miles out on the road and singing along to my favourite cd, the water gauge started to creep above halfway…then up it went till before hitting red I pulled over, I opened the hood and waited till she cooled down…The mechanic had checked all fluids TWICE on my insistance before I left. Well she was almost bone dry when I added the water and headed back to town. Next day the mechanic checked any outward signs of a leak and found nothing, I mean nada!
What next? Is it the dreaded cylinder head, gasget, engine? Please tell me how to proceed…I have spent every last dime and I’m unemployed. Thank you in advance, Mllegauthier

Next step, get an estimate(s) for repairs and then post back/decide. If this is more than $1000 to correct send the car to car heaven (aka junkyard).

Tough spot replacing transmission on a worn out car (17+ year old vehicle) despite mileage.

Reality Check: You’ll Need To Find A Source Of Money (You Already Knew That).
Can You Sell Some Paintings Or Your Guitar ? Extortion ? Blackmail ?

The shop can give you a “guesstimate” for repairs and estimate for a tear-down (head removal). Next, the shop will have to remove the cylinder head. (Is this a 4 cylinder engine ?)

The head should be inspected as well as the rest of the engine. Overheating is tough on an engine. Now they should be able to give you a proper estimate. If it looks like it just basically needs a head gasket then you can proceed, if not, you’ll have more decisions to make.

Once back together, the cooling system should be pressure tested to be sure there aren’t other leaks that could lead to overheating and destruction of the new head gasket.

It’s a case of chicken and egg. Which came first ? A failed head gasket can cause overheating. Overheating due to low coolant from a leak can lead to overheating and damage to the head gasket (and other engine parts).


Were you having overheating problems before you had the radiator replaced? You could be losing coolant through the overflow system. I have seen new radiators where the nipple for the overflow was not drilled out. I have also seen new radiators that did not come with a new cap. Either one of those could be your problem.

Another thing to look at is the condenser for the AC. If it is plugged up with bugs, mud, dirt, or other debris, it will block airflow to the radiator, but that should not cause a loss of coolant.