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

asked by on September 29, 2016

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.

Temperature gauge is maxed out Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote
Battery Light is on Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

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.

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

What others are asking

Car hesitates and then jerks to go into first gear

Hi, thanks for writing in. There is a - Technical Service Bulletin regarding problems with the transmission control module and harsh shifting such as you are experiencing (TSB # 303773). Check with your Chevrolet service department to discuss how this...

Car issues. I need help to determine what's wrong with it.

First you will need to test compression on all 4 cylinders with all of the spark plugs out and the ignition system disabled. If the compression is good on all of the cylinders, then the valves in cylinder 2 are...

Engine Locked

Hello, thank you for writing in. When the engine is locked up, it means that it is stuck in place for one reason or another, and it will not rotate like it normally does. This is directly related to the...

How do you change the engine oil on?

While it’s recommended that you have a professional change your car’s engine oil, this is a service that you can do on your own provided you have the right tools, a place to do it, and a way to safely...

Can I add radiator fan?

The engine compartment of a 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan is not as big as older vans used to be. As a result, fitting an auxiliary fan to your radiator in an effort to make it run cooler might be difficult....

Car misfires; crack in manifold

Hello. A crack in the exhaust manifold near the O2 sensor can cause some poor sensor readings to the computer. The crack will allow fresh air to enter the exhaust, which causes the sensor to tell the computer that there...

P0420 code

Honda has a technical service bulletin (TSB) out for this condition. There are 2 possibilities to correct this fault, according to the bulletin: Replace the catalytic converter Software update of the engine computer One last thing...

On the thermostat housing on a 2013 Journey, which way does the gasket end seal to? Does it seal to the part connected to the hose?

Installing a thermostat upside down will cause the engine to overheat. Although not impossible, the thermostat will fit better one direction than the other. The coiled or spring loaded end needs to go into the engine block. The end with...

Transmission stuck in fourth gear

Hi - most likely there is a problem in the valve body with this hydraulic circuit. The P0750 shift solenoid message, while accurate relative to which circuit is involved, may have only been the symptom, not the cause. A sticking...

Related articles

The Best Used Cars to Buy If You Need a Lot of Trunk Space
Many Many people focus more on interior room than cargo carrying capacity. That’s natural if you have a large family or regularly carpool, but what about drivers who need to carry a lot of stuff most of the time and...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You're a Mobile Housekeeper
If If you are a mobile housekeeper, chances are that you are looking for a small, reliable used vehicle that offers good gas mileage and enough space to store your supplies. With that in mind, we present to you the...
The Best Used Cars to Buy if You Live Close to the Ocean
If If you live close to the ocean, your vehicle is going to be far more vulnerable to rust than if you lived further inland. And the fact is, when it comes to resisting rust, not all vehicles are created...