Q: Car sputters and takes effort to start, overheats, and has a cylinder misfire

asked by on November 23, 2017

When I got my car, it had a problem with overheating. We replaced the radiator cap and stocked up on the coolant, however it still has this problem, just not as often. I'm pretty sure it has a leak somewhere but we don't know where. Next, it had a rough shaking every time it was in drive, so I often had to put the car in neutral at stop lights. We replaced the engine mounts and that made the shaking disappear when accelerating, however it still violently vibrates when in drive at any stopped time. And finally, my car takes a few times to start, it sputters each time and tries to turn over, but it doesn't always succeed. I've been late to class because of this problem. To sum it up: overheating, potential coolant leak, and intense vibrating while idling in drive, and startup problems.

My car has 175000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi Aubrie. Thanks for contacting us today. Although it would be fantastic if all of these issues were related, it’s likely that they are all independent problems. Let’s start with the overheating issue. Although a coolant leak is common, it is possible that coolant is leaking inside the motor (especially if the vehicle has overheated since you’ve had it). This is typically due to a head gasket failure, which occurs when the vehicle overheats for an extended period of time. The best way to determine if this is happening is to check your engine oil. If the oil is milky, then this is your problem - and i’d recommend replacing the vehicle - as the repair costs would be more than the car is worth. If the head gasket is not the issue, then a clogged or dirty heater core could also be causing the occasional overheating problems. The vibration issues and the hard to start problem may be related, possibly caused by a loose vacuum hose, dirty or clogged fuel injectors, throttle body or mass air flow sensor. Since there are several possible sources here, I think the smartest thing to do is have one of our mobile mechanics come to your location to complete a car is hard to start inspection. This is the best way to have a professional look at your vehicle and determine what repairs are needed to resolve your issues.

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