Q: Can someone help me pls?

asked by on February 08, 2018

My car started smelling funny on the way home and was slowing down right when I was pulling up to the driveway and just shut off. We keep up w the maintenance so this is new. There was smoke coming out from the hood of the car so my husband popped the hood. When he opened it we heard something that sounded like it was boiling and it was coming from the what holds the water for the radiator (idk the actual terminology for that part, sorry) he opened it and I guess it was empty. We used up all our water I guess. Last time we did oil check was January 2018. It's February. Never had this problem before. We filled the thing up w water and it looked a little light grey which I'm afraid might be the result of a more serious issue :( Can someone give me an idea of what could be wrong? I'm going to take it in to get it looked at but want to know if i would be able to even leave without it happening again and don't want to risk that bc I don't want to end up on the side of the road. Pls help!

My car has 203509 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like you may have an overheating issue that may very well be related to the fact that there was no coolant in the radiator, however it is also possible that there may be other issues that may have caused this as well such as a blown cylinder head gasket or potentially a leak. A blown head gasket may cause a number of different symptoms. A head gasket that fails between cylinders will generally cause a misfire and potentially compression leaks from one cylinder into another. Low compression will eventually result in a rough idling engine. When the head gasket fails between a cylinder and the coolant port, coolant may leak into the cylinder causing it to be burnt with the fuel charge in the combustion chamber. This often results in misfires on startup, especially after the engine is run, turned off and restarted and in some cases may result in the engine not maintaining enough cylinder compression to even run or start. You may also notice a slight bit of steam like smoke being produced from the exhaust as a result of the coolant being burnt inside the combustion chamber along with the fuel charge. This type of failure may not always show with a compression test. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to properly diagnose the symptoms you describe.

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