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Q: My car over heated

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So for a few weeks my car suddenly started to over heat when ever my car was idle for too long like if i were to be at a red light. The needle would jump all the way over but once i started driving again, after a while it would go back to normal. I recently got my oil change and asked the mechanic what he thought could be wrong but he didnt check anything out only told me i most likely needed a new thermostat. Well i didnt really have the money to get a more indepth check up and one day while waiting in a McDonald's line way too long, the car basicly exploded and overheated. After waiting for almost an 1 i started it up and was able to drive half way home until it cut out again. Only this time right before cutting out there was a loud clank noise.3 waits later i got it home. Now im being told by family it may be the radiator. Cant really afford to get it towed so im seeking out the possible problem and how I myself and check to see whats wrong.

My car has 200 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The first thing to do is to remove the serpentine belt off the engine and see if you feel the water pump pulley move around and if it does not turn very good. The water pump may be bad.

Try and start the motor to see if it still starts and runs. If not, you may have damaged the engine from overheating it. Run it for no more than a minute with the belt off. If the engine starts and runs smooth, then you may not have damaged it yet.

Next, have the radiator pressure tested to see if it is leaking using a radiator pressure tester after filling the cold engine. You will then be able to see where the leak is. Replace anything that is leaking and replace the water pump and thermostat. If the radiator is busted, then replace it and the cap.

If you would like some help with this, a qualified technician from YourMechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose your overheating issue and quote the best path to repair.

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