Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Battery light on, temperature gauge maxed out, A/C system not working correctly

asked by on

My car has been making a lot of noise after a 2 hour trip from a few weeks ago, but today my car displayed the battery light and the temperature gauge was maxed out . Also when I put my car in park smoke/steam was coming from under the hood, I was too afraid to look to see what was going on. The A/C and Heat are not functioning correctly also the steering was extremely stiff. Please help me!

My car has 70000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi, thanks for writing in. What you are d...

Hi, thanks for writing in.

What you are describing happened to me personally a few weeks ago. It sounds like one (or both) of the accessory drive belt(s) that turn your alternator, water pump, and power steering pump is broken. The fact that all the symptoms occurred simultaneously explains this perfectly.

Unfortunately this was caused be the overheating. If you lose the belt, then your water pump, alternator, and power steering pump will all not spin. This is why the battery light, overheating condition, and stiff steering all happened at the same time. Any time you see your temperature gauge rise, immediately turn your heater on high with the fan speed on high and if the temperature does not drop, and immediately pull the vehicle over. Otherwise, the water in the engine gets hotter and hotter until it begins to boil, explaining the steam. This is dangerous because the oil temperatures rise as well and you can do a lot of damage to the engine.

I suggest verifying that your accessory drive belts are still there. Once that is fixed, all the symptoms you described should be fixed. You will need to refill the radiator because that steam was water so your levels will be low. Hopefully the overheating didn't warp the engine head.

If you continue having issues with the vehicle, it may need to be serviced for a head gasket. But hopefully, all you need is a new belt and a little coolant and you'll be good to go!

If you would like help getting your Civic looked at, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to inspect and diagnose the issues for you, and make or suggest any repairs as needed.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
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・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: What is cost to neutralize motor mounts, I switched out front mount but now it vibrates off of frame

I believe you need to replace all of your mounts. You are saying it is touching the frame, so I would suggest the rest of them be replaced also. You may also look around and see if you have anything...

Q: My automatic shifter will vibrate hard when I'm going over 80 and my car also would shake a bit

Hi there. Not sure what roads you can travel over 80mph but several things may cause this issue. One possibility is having broken or sagging transmission/engine mounts. Another possibility is a driveline vibration caused by worn CV joints and/or U-joints....

Q: leaking oil after fixed

Hello. The first step would be taking it back to the dealer where your car was fixed once more and have them inspect it to see if there is a new leak somewhere. There are several components that could be...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.