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Q: Loss of power, likes to run hot and occassionally get close to overheating

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Before a cross-country road trip, changed radiator fan and motor mount but left cracked radiator alone until it failed on the road / overheated with lots of smoke. Changed radiator, still overheating. Changed thermostat, still overheating. Finally car started losing power and now wondering if it's the water pump or did the overheating (almost went to the "H" many times); cause permanent damage? Why wouldn't 4 different mechanics recommend changing the water pump from the beginning?

My car has 108000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Most importantly, you need to understand, that when the engine overheats and the coolant level gets low, the sensor that relays the temperature to the gauge is reading the temperature of the air in the engine. The sensor normally reads the coolant temperature, but when the coolant level is too low, it gets its its temperature signal from the air instead. The air temperature will typically much lower than that of the coolant, and therefore, the actual coolant temperature can be much higher.

Repeatedly overheating the engine can cause serious engine damage, such as a warped cylinder head, blown head gasket, or any of several other possible issues. It would be best to have a certified mechanic, such as those available at YourMechanic, do some diagnostics to identify why the vehicle is still overheating and make the repairs that are necessary.

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