Q: Car overheated on highway then died while I was coasting it to a stop.

asked by on August 06, 2017

It overheated on the highway and died while coasting it to a stop. As soon as I noticed the temp gauge start to go up I turned on my heater which cooled it for only a minute till I could get it off the road but continued to go up again before I came to a full stop. I noticed it had a small puff of white smoke come out from under the hood. When I opened the hood I saw coolant all over the engine. I thought it was a thermostat issue but when I got it towed home I noticed that my radiator was cracked after I had let it cool down a few hours and tried putting coolant in it. The oil wasn't milky when I checked the dipstick but my neighbor said I blew a head gasket and he's probably right because that could account for the crack in my radiator. I might add here that I had on previous occasions noticed some hesitation during acceleration before this happened. I'm no expert and just need to know before I junk it if it could still be a blown head gasket even though the oil didn't look milky?

My car has 164000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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Hello, thanks for writing in. While the cracked radiator and head gasket can be related, you are more concerned with the extend of the damage to the engine. The head gasket and radiator can be replaced, but the interior of the motor may be damaged beyond repair. You can start with a head gasket test, which can be done several ways. If the head gasket was blown, the engine can be inspected for other issues when it is replaced. Otherwise, you should replace the radiator and test the vehicle. The hesitation is a sign that there may have been an issue with the head gasket ahead of time, and you should be prepared for there to be an issue. Before making any decisions about the condition of the engine, you should have it inspected by a qualified technician.

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