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Q: Garage gave me a huge list of things to be able to fix my car, but I want to know if it's all necessary to get it running.

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Thermostat broken on van and constantly refilling coolant. On really humid days we would see a white kind of mist come through the a/c. Then the other night out of nowhere, the car had white smoke coming from under the hood at stop signs but would disappear when driving resumed. Then pulled in the driveway and while the car was idling dark smoke began. I turned the car off and looked under the hood and saw condensation on all the parts and a large liquid spot on the hood. The garage says the fan doesn't work either but they are saying we need spark plugs and belts and all kinds of stuff replaced totalling $3200 because coolant "could have" gotten on those things when the radiator hose came off is what they told me. What do I actually NEED to get the car back on the road?

My car has 107000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi, thanks for writing in. It's hard to...

Hi, thanks for writing in. It's hard to definitively say what the problem is without inspecting the car and doing some testing. The condensation and liquid was most likely coolant. If the hoses or the connections where they engage the engine or radiator are damaged, the hoses will be prone to popping off. Your hoses are the more likely cause, and will need to be replaced. The fan, if truly not working, will also need to be replaced. It may also be the reason the coolant overheated in the first place. The fan plays a huge roll in cooling down the engine, and assists the radiator in decreasing the temperature of the coolant. As far as the damages caused by the incident, further testing would need to be done. If the spark plugs and wires were shorted out and fried in the process, may not work anymore. Replacing them is your only option at that point. However, you can always get a second opinion to verify what that technician quoted. Here at YourMechanic, we can have a technician come to your home or office to perform a 75-point inspection for you, and give you further advice.

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