Unknown car problem

I have a 2014 Chevy Cruze LT. Awhile ago my car broke down and I got a refurbished battery and everything seemed fine. Then it de-escalated to the point where I was jumping my car everytime I started it because we thought the alternator needed replacing and I couldn’t afford one. Then we went to walmart to get a new tire and they said I just needed a new battery. Yesterday I purchased a battery replacement from them and got my oil changed. On the way home everything was fine. Today however on the way to work (26 minute drive) the engine began to overheat so I turned off the AC and turned on the heat. It kept saying it was overheating then a minute later it would say everything was fine and it kept doing that until we got to work but I couldnt take it anywhere because 1 I have no money 2 I was almost late for work. Does anyone know what could be wrong? I don’t know anything about cars.

That is a problem because your car has problems. Likely several problems. Expensive problems.

That situation will get worse. I’d suggest you start looking for an alternate way to get to work now before the car stops altogether.

Then you are in quite a pickle because these problems are not going to solve themselves nor can we give you a “magic button” to make them all go away.

I’m also going to guess you are still making payments on this car.

You don’t have many options here. You can park it until you do have some money or you need to find some money, or use a credit card, or borrow from family, or pawn some of your stuff to obtain some money to get your car fixed by a pro, not some friend who sometimes works on cars, to diagnose your car and estimate a repair cost.

The overheating pattern you described usually means you are low on coolant. Simply add coolant to the overflow tank and start the engine. If the tank goes empty or low, add more coolant.

Now I hate to say this to someone who claims they have no money, but here goes. You can use plain water to top off you coolant system instead of coolant, but if you do, you will need to plan on a coolant exchange in the VERY near future. You vehicle is actually due for one anyway, the maintenance schedule calls for a coolant change every 5 years. If you do not get this done in the near future, next month or two, you could find yourself with some very expensive repairs. Pay a little now or pay a LOT later.

The guy at Walmart did you a favor by selling you a new battery. Refurbished batteries just don’t last. You learned something from that experience.

Not sure why you bought just one tire. Tires should be replaced in pairs and best if all 4 are replaced at once.

My recommendation for you is to find a reputable mechanic, check with co workers and friends, yelp, BBB.com etc to find one and ask about getting an evaluation done on what your vehicle will need and the expected time frame. The work out a schedule and a budget to get them done. In the long run, that will save you the most money and provide you with reliable transportation. You may be facing a cost hurdle from poor maintenance in the past, but the vehicle should still be salvageable and over the next five years be very cost effective.

Saying I have no money is a little extra, I could afford coolant if thats the case. I have someone coming over while I’m on my lunch break and I actually work at a walmart (one with no auto center) so hopefully thats the problem and we can fix it right away, I appreciate it

Be aware that you vehicle uses Dexcool coolant. Walmart does carry it and it costs the same as other types of coolant. If you get the Prestone brand, it has an orange cap. You may also have the Walmart house brand and if you have it in Dexcool, you can save a few bucks. It’s just as good.

BTW, since you vehicle is only 5 years old, do NOT allow anyone to flush out the cooling system. It is best to just drain the system and refill with new Dexcool coolant at a 50/50 mix. You can buy the premix version that says “Do not add water”. It costs a little more but for most people it is a safer way to do a coolant change.

If you chose to do this at home with a friend, be careful as coolant is very toxic if ingested. A lot of pets die each year when the coolant is allowed to pool on the ground or left in an open container and they drink it. Just a couple of laps and you will lose them. A shot glass will kill a human. Animals are attracted to it because it is very sweet.

One more thing, you can use the universal coolant but that would also be a good reason to plan your coolant change sooner than later. You can go 10% universal with no issues. More than that is a subject of several debates, some say OK, others are vehemently against it.

If you or a friend knows how to work an inexpensive DVM ( volt-meter), hook it up to the battery posts on the 20 V DC scale. Before the first start of the day it should measure about 12.6 volts. Immediately after starting the engine, 13.5-15.5 volts. Post what you measure here and you’ll get some more ideas.

For the cooling system problem, in the meantime just don’t turn on the AC at all. If the engine still overheats a little even with no AC, turning on the passenger compartment heater to max , max fan speed will sometimes created enough engine cooling to bring the coolant temperature to within a safe driving range. As mentioned above make sure the coolant level is correct. I wouldn’t suggest topping it off w/ plain water, too corrosive on the aluminum parts inside the engine. If you feel lucky you could just replace the cooling system pressure cap with one from a junkyard, inexpensive & might work. When the engine overheats pull over and pop the hood, leaving the engine idling. Are the radiator cooling fans spinning like crazy? They should be. If not that’s part of the problem.

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