Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car is overheating and has a radiator leak

asked by on

Yesterday on my way home from work about a half mile away from my house I noticed the car was smoking from under the hood, I pulled in my driveway and noticed I had a radiator leak. My heat is not working which leads me to believe I might need a water pump. I'm considering getting the car towed to a shop ( still runs and drives fine ) do you think I just need a radiator or a water pump or a thermostat ? Any input would be much appreciated ! Let me know if I can give you any more information that might help.

My car has 126000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: This can be caused by a number of things su...

This can be caused by a number of things such as low coolant levels, a faulty thermostat, 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.

Depending on the location of the water leak, this may also be the result of a failing water pump. You may notice a slight whining sound due to a loose water pump pulley, steam coming from the radiator (as you described) and the most obvious for most, the engine overheating.

If you want to avoid having your car towed to a shop, I would suggest having an expert from YourMechanic come to your home to diagnose your cooling system and make the necessary repairs. Best of luck.

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

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: Car not starting

Hello! First I would suggest to have a mechanic check the timing of the engine. To check the timing the technician would use a timing light to see if the timing is within tolerance. Timing chains usually don't develop any...

Q: Ac not working and car overheating

The two cooling fans are controlled by a fan controller which is mounted in the center of the engine, above the radiator. The fan controller controls the fan speeds depending on the signals from the engine control module input. A...

Q: Drive 4 miles in stop and go car will not restart....after 1 hour start, then within 2 miles stalls and will not restart.

It is possible that you have an electrical issue with your fuel or ignition system. The ignition coil could be faulty causing the spark plugs to quit firing. The electrical connection to the fuel pump could also be faulty causing...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...