Edmunds Answers



  • MrShift@Edmunds 06/03/10 10:47 am PST

    Overheating is a complex issue and can have many causes. The thermostat might be the culprit. This can be removed and easily tested. You could also have an inoperative cooling fan, due to defective relay, bad sensor, bad fan motor or blown fuse.

    You could also have a clogged radiator, which again, can be flow tested.

    You could have head gasket issues.

    Diagnosing overheating requires a step by step diagnosis by which items are eliminated by testing. Certainly first steps would be to check if the electric cooling fan is working. If it seems to work properly, then test the thermostat. If that is opening correctly, then I'd suspect the radiator, on an old car like this. If there's no sign of clogging, then I'd test for a bad head gasket.

  • ladye1 06/04/10 12:59 am PST

    Thank you so much for your answer. I have another... could it still be my heads if there is no water in the oil?

  • MrShift@Edmunds 06/04/10 1:46 am PST

    Yes, a head gasket can fail without water in the oil---there could be a leak between the combustion chamber and a cooling (water) galley (passageway) in the head---so in that case you'd get combustion gases in the radiator---something like boiling water for tea. Such overheats are very rapid however---your car would boil over in minutes, not hours. There is a chemical test for combustion gases mixed in with radiator coolant.


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