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Radiator trouble

So-- I want to know if I am getting the run around. Basically, I had my radiator serviced on a Thurs. and that Sun., my car way overheated while I was driving on the freeway, I pulled the car over and found a huge crack in my radiator… and later found out it took out the head gasket. boo. I have NEVER had overheating problems before. Nor was there any start to a crack on the radiator before I took it in for service. Plus, there is a thick black putty like substance spread over a part of the crack. I talked to the place that serviced my car (who had told me the radiator was fine) and they said they didn’t break it, the problem I had occured because my radiator is very old (almost 200,000 mi.) and that the thick substance on the radiator is stuff that came out of the radiator when it cracked. A different mechanic told me the crack could have been caused because they failed to clear all the O2 from the system when they serviced it. They are telling me it could have been a thermostat problem-- conviniently, we can’t check this because the thermostat was damaged, along with the water pump, when the car overheated. I’m not very knowledgeable about Cars, so I just want to know if you think I’m being taken for a ride.

At 200K, nearly anything is possible.

I don’t think you will get to the bottom of this, so it is best to repair and move on, if that is your choice. Unless the second shop is willing to go to court as witnesses, their analysis is informative but not actionable.

I would certainly not go back to the mechanic that did the coolant drain/fill (and I recognize I could be wrongly punishing that shop), particularly if I were not a long-time customer and I knew their track record for not screwing up.