Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car is over heating and the coolant is running out fast.

asked by on

When the car is running and sitting still it starts to over heat but today the coolant in my car was running out fast and now the car over heats when I am driving unless i stop and keep refilling the coolant. How much would it cost to fix the coolant and replace the thermostat? Also could there be something else wrong with my car?

My car has 182000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This can be caused by a number of things such as low coolant levels, a faulty thermostat, a clogged radiator or a failing coolant fan switch. As you may know the coolant fan switch helps to maintain the proper coolant temperature by turning on and off at specific temperature thresholds. When this switch is not working properly, this can cause the fans to come on intermittently, all the time or sometimes not at all. When this happens you will notice a temperature spike and drop occasionally as the fan comes on and off. When your thermostat is not working properly or is stuck closed, this will not allow the coolant to properly circulate through the engine, which may cause the engine temperature to fluctuate erratically or in some cases just remain hot. You may also have a water pump that is beginning to fail. Water pumps often times will begin to produce a bit of a whining sound when they are starting to fail. A common problem also associated with this is the water pump may begin to leak around the water pump shaft due to the seal being damaged. In addition to leaking around the pump, you may have a leak elsewhere in the cooling system coming from one of the hoses going to or from the radiator. Lastly, you may have a failing cylinder head gasket allowing coolant to leak from the water passages into the cylinders resulting in the coolant being burnt in the combustion chamber with the fuel. If this is the case, you may also notice a bit of white smoke coming from your exhaust which is a product of the coolant being turned into a steam like vapor. I would suggest having an expert from Your Mechanic come to your home to diagnose your cooling system.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I have a crack on my windshield

Every state will vary as well as the person performing the inspection. However, in most states, a crack larger than 4 inches will not pass this kind of safety inspection. There are also different types of cracks that have different...

Q: Leak spare tire hatch

Hello! It is likely that the leak is from the sunroof drain holes being clogged or hampered causing the water to leak inside the vehicle. Sunroof torrents are known to develop a leaks in places like the weather stripping on...

Q: Hi I bought a car yesterday evening and the owner I got it from told me it overheats - 2000 Chevrolet Malibu

Hello - finding and fixing the coolant leak is the first step, and it may be obvious what is leaking based on where the leak is. If the fluid is coming from the passenger side of the car, in line...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...