Q: 02 Cavalier overheating

asked by on August 21, 2017

I have a 2002 Chevy Cavalier. It started having problems overheating when it idles. I couldn’t figure out the cause. Now, there is Smoke coming out the hood. My antifreeze is full but the low engine coolant light (I think that’s what it is. It has like a little water icon with a down arrow) is on as well as the low traction and check engine lights. The car lurches when I put it into drive from park. Just driving down the street 4 blocks I lost a whole half tank of gas, but when I parked, turned the card off and restarted it, it showed I hadn’t lost any gas at all. When I sit in a drive thru, the rpm goes down to 0 and the car shuts itself off. What do I need to do? Most mechanics try to quote me over $300 just to diagnose it.

My car has 120k+ miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Car is overheating Inspection $79.99 - $99.99 Get a Quote
Car is stalling Inspection $79.99 - $99.99 Get a Quote

You probably get the high quote because of your long list of problems. The overheating is the most serious symptom and is the one you need to look at first. It may be a simple as a leaking hose. The other problems may be all related. It sounds as though you have an instrumentation problem, which would make me want to look carefully at your engine and battery ground connections. Your other issues may be related to that, or there could be a problem in the throttle body that causes your lurching and stalling. It might not be all as bad as it sounds. If you contact Your Mechanic, you can have a technician come out to your home or office and [check out your overheating](https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/car-is-overheating-inspection and idle speed problems and let you know what it will take to solve them.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing


Experienced Mechanic?

Earn up to $65/hr

What others are asking

Service ESC

The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system is your car's traction control system. The traction control system monitors the steering stability of the vehicle and engages when loss of traction has been detected. This is done by the use of electronic...

I have a 2015 chevy trax, the ac blows cool not cold air out of the passenger side vents and hot air out of the driver side vents

Hi Tammy. Thanks for contacting us today. There are a few different things that can cause this odd situation. It's possible that low refrigerant charge in the a/c system as a cause of this, so it may just be that...

Torque converter vibrates - 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500

Torque convertor "shuddering" is a cycle where the torque convertor tries to lock up, can't, and re-cycles repeatedly. General Motors has a service bulletin - TSB Reference #3438A, that addresses this issue. Discuss this issue with your dealer.

2002 Elantra: ratting, sudden loss of power and stalling! Pls help stuck on a mountain.

It sounds like you may have a cooling system leak that may have caused a hose to burst. The more concerning question is the brown colored coolant that came from the leaking hose. This often times indicates that there may...

My actuator works backwards

Hello. We will need to observe several other factors in order to pinpoint what the issue is. When you say you are turning on the vents, what setting are you turning on when this happens? Is it all temperature settings...

Car is overheating and building pressure in top water hose

Other possible causes of overheating include failed head gaskets that allow exhaust gases to leak into the cooling system, a major blockage in a cooling passageway, a failed radiator pressure cap, non functioning radiator cooling fans and poor engine running...

What happens if Load Sensing Proportionate Valve is deleted and brakes are connected directly?

If you delete the proportioning valve, too much brake line pressure will be directed to the rear brakes, and too little to the front, thus possibly causing the rear brakes to lock up with loss of control of the vehicle....

How do I fold the rear seatbacks?

Both sides of the rear seatback can fold down, which allows you extra storage space, or an opening to the trunk. Folding the rear seatbacks is very simple: Make sure that the front seats are not reclined. If the...

The alternator wire gets very hot.

Hi there. It sounds like either the alternator is overcharging or there is lower than normal resistance in the circuit. The average alternator output is around 13.8 volts and amperage dependent upon its rating; 90 amp alternator may have a...

Related articles

The Best Used Cars to Buy if You're Hauling a Horse Trailer
Horse Horse owners need a vehicle with towing capacity. Depending on the size of your trailer and the weight of your horse or horses, you probably won’t be able to get away with less than a 3,000-pound towing capacity, and...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You Just Retired
Here’s Here’s a cruel, hard fact – car manufacturers no longer target seniors. Instead, they devote their time and energy to appealing to the 18-45 demographic. Still, some features make certain cars more suitable for older drivers. We have...
Top 10 Best-Selling Cars of 2016
Ford F-series pickup trucks, Toyota Camry, and Honda Civic are some of the best-selling cars of 2016 and all deliver on reliability and efficiency.