Smoking car question

coolant
smoke

#1

I was in a drive thru, a long wait, and I noticed smoke coming up from my hood. I pulled out and after it cooled down found out that I was completly out of coolant (I left a trail in the drive thru and I’m assuming that’s what it was). My temperature gauge on the dash never even hit medium and I had my oil changed and fluids topped off a week ago. I added water, ran it for a couple minutes and drove home, with no further incident. I’m not sure what is wrong, but I did also get an engine flush at the oil change place. Should I go back to the oil change place, or go see a regular mechanic?


#2

I suspect there is no damage. But, you need to see your regular mechanic and tell him this story.

I had a similar thing happen to me. I was waiting for the wife at the grocery store, and I noticed my temp gauge just beginning to climb. I shut it off, and that’s when I noticed the steam from under the hood. When I raised the hood, the top of the radiator was split wide open, and coolant was everywhere.

I also had a friend who was losing coolant, but we couldn’t tell from where. But, I followed him home, and periodically, I’d see steam spraying out from up under the car, but dissipating too quickly to be seen from his mirrors. When we got to his house, we noticed the hair-line cracks in the bottom of the radiator, that was only leaking when the thermostat opened, and let hot coolant from the engine into the radiator. Once the coolant had cooled slightly, the cracks closed back up.

BTW, both radiators in these recollections were aluminum with plastic jugs that had failed. In the case of my car, I found a replacement brass radiator. I had already had the upper jug replaced under warranty, but was out of warranty when it failed the second time.


#3

Go back to the place that did the work ASAP.
You do have your work order/receipt, don’t you?
If you can avoid it, don’t drive the car until you take it back to them.
Ask to speak to the manager.
BE POLITE & CONCISE. State your case, (quietly & politely) show your proof & ask them to fix the problem.
You may have coincidently blown a radiator hose shortly after getting the car serviced. That happens sometimes.
But you can ask them anyway, they may fix it for free.
Either way, don’t drive the car until you get the leak fixed. You’re pouring nasty, expensive anti freeze all over the place!