Q: Car overheated and battery light came on, now car won't start.

asked by on January 05, 2016

I was driving to work and heard a sound like gravel being turned for about 20-30 seconds. Shortly after that my battery light came on and the temperature of the engine started to go up very quickly. The clock and heat went out as well, though the headlights and radio stayed on. I checked under the hood after I got to work and the vehicle had time to cool off. The coolant top had popped off and all the coolant was gone. I went to to start my car later and it wouldn't turn on, however, the battery light was still on.

Alternator Replacement $151.62 - $1237.14 Get a Quote
Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement $96.60 - $317.27 Get a Quote

It sounds like you have had a failure of one of the belt driven accessories under your hood. The pulleys attached to you engine have bearing in them so they can spin freely. When one of these bearings fail you can hear a sound of gravel being turned as you described. It is then possible that the belt could be damaged to the point where it slips off or breaks. This will cause your water pump to stop circulating coolant in your engine which could cause it to overheat and blow off your radiator cap. It will cause your alternator to stop charging your battery so you could lose electrical power and turn the battery light on. I would ask for help from a mechanic to check your serpentine belt system for any issues and make the necessary repairs.

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

The motor is sucking a lot of air from the plastic valve cover

The pcv valve may be stuck open or fell part inside causing excessive suction in the engine and high idles. Have the crankcase ventilation system checked for problems.

Service Engine Soon light is on in 2003 Toyota Tacoma

Hello code P0031 is for an oxygen sensor Bank 1 Sensor 1 heater circuit malfunction. Electrical testing should be performed to verify that the oxygen sensor has a good heater, measuring the resistance of the heater. If the heater has...

Why does my temp gauge read high before car is even started been sittin for bout 3 weeks without a battery

On some vehicles, the instrument cluster may do a sweep on start-up as a way for the computer to check operation. If the temperature gauge goes to the high mark and stays there, you may have a malfunctioning engine coolant...

My truck is overheating, I hear it hissing and I see steam too.

Hello, thanks for writing in. I'd be happy to help. Steam from the engine is usually a sign of a small cooling system leak. I would recommend taking a close look at the area where the steam appears to be...

Car cranking, but not turning over

Hello, there are many possible reasons for a no-start. Your description is a little confusing since you say it crank but it doesn't turn over. In auto terminology, "crank" and "turn over" have the same meaning. If what you are...

Wen u put it in gear the car jerks as it Accelerates ????? Y

There could be a number of different things causing this issue. There could be issues with your suspension, engine, transmission, or axles. In this case, I would strongly recommend having a full vehicle inspection performed by a qualified professional. This...

Charged battery and car still won't start.

If you have already verified that you have a working battery in your Chevy Tahoe and despite this the engine is still not turning over, the next step would be to check the starting system. It is possible and common,...

Black smoke on my bumper from exhaust 03 cavalier?

Black smoke coming from the exhaust is usually an indication of a rich fuel condition. When this happens, this can be the result of many things such as faulty fuel injectors, a failing mass air flow sensor or a faulty...

Do I need a new alternator?

I would recommend having your alternator tested for proper function with a digital multimeter by a qualified technician. This test will determine if the alternator is charging the battery at the proper levels. If the alternator is not charging the...

Related articles

How Does a Push-Button Start Work?
For the vast majority of people, cranking your car involves getting the key out, sliding it into the ignition, and turning...
How Are High-Performance Ignition Systems Different from Standard Ones?
Once Once upon a time, there was only one type of ignition system. It used a distributor, points, a coil, and was subject to significant wear and tear. Then came the electronic ignition, which replaced the points with an electronic...
What Does Ignition Timing Mean?
Timing Timing – it has a couple of different meanings when applied to your car’s engine. One of the most critical is ignition timing (not to be confused with engine timing). Ignition timing refers to when spark is created during...