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What does this mean?

My wife’s car overheated because the radiator busted and lost all fluid. The engine grinded to a stop and I can’t get it started again. here is what I did:

1. Cylinder compression on all cylinders shows hardly any pressure. Checked cylinders one at a time. Just inserted a pressure gauge and turned the engine over.

2. Removed the spark plug from cylinder one and ran compressed air into the cylinder. The air escaped through the empty radiator (have not replaced the water yet). Any help what this means and are there are oter things I can do to narrow down how to fix it/ what to replace?

No compression and pressurized air entering the cooling system means headgasket broken in more than one place.

Post back year and model and engine type, and we can go from there.

Forgot to mention?. The radiator is busted all along the top seam and there does not appear to be any oil in the oil pan. Seems that this was caused due to high pressure. The dipstick does not show any water.

Having no oil show on the dipstick is not a good sign. You may be in need of a replacement engine. It appears the high pressure of at least one of the cylinders got to the coolant and blew the radiator. There may be a broken timing belt causing the low compression. That may mean bent valves possibly depending on the engine design. Who knows what damage the low oil level caused. At least the crank isn’t frozen.

I am sorry, I mint to say there is no water in the oil pan (not no oil).

it’s a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant with 238.000 miles. Never had any engine problems and made regular oil changes. Last on a week before this happened. I could replace the header and gasket myself but am afraid there is more damage which I can’t handle.

You can’t even think of fixing this car. It’s worth $150 running. If you want it fixed, you have to replace the engine and the radiator. You have to take the engine apart to see if it is just a bad head gasket. The head should be replaced anyway if the problems are only there. $1400 just for that if somebody else does the work. You could have problems with the block that you don’t even know about. No, this car isn’t one that you can afford to fix.

The ONLY way this is repairable is if you can find a good used engine and install it. Otherwise, it’s scrap metal, worth maybe $40.

The cylinder head, or engine block, may be cracked, and, or it may be a bad cylinder head gasket. If you have energy and time to burn, you could tear the engine down. If it’s the V6 cylinder engine, there are TWO cylinder heads. You need to know how to take the timing belt off, and put a new one back on, if you take off the head(s). With the head off, you would examined the cylinder walls for cracks. If you decide to, have fun!

Since the car overheated, and was driven til it stalled, I vote for a badly warped cylinder head. Aluminum Cylinder heads cannot take the strain of overheats. This will be a more expensive repair than a head gasket. 238,000 miles? Trash the car. It is not worth it. It served you well. Let it go in peace.

You know enough on how to do a compression test…but you don’t know that overheating a car is a sure way to blow a head gasket???

thanks for the remarks MikelnNH. It was my wife driving, but we can go without your “constructive” comments.