Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Overheating, rusty color in reservoir and its cap, white smoke from exhaust, no heat. Whats the problem? 2002 Oldsmobile Alero

asked by on

Car over heats quickly white smoke from tailpipe no heater rust color in and on resevior and it's cap. Flushed the cooling system and it ran OK for 5 days. Now it's back to over heating etc. Is it the radiator or intake manifold gaskets or both

My car has 86000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello - you may have multiple problems, all related to the cooling system, at work here. It is likely you have a blown headgasket given the repeatable overheating after a short time, and white smoke in the exhaust (if it’s smells slightly sweet - it’s a coolant leak). It is possible with this engine that the intake manifold gaskets are leaking coolant into the engine, and it’s not a blown headgasket, but that doesn’t address the overheating. Checking compression for low readings on adjacent cylinders will help confirm the blown head gasket diagnosis. The lack of heat from the heater may be a malfunctioning or clogged heater control valve (or the circuit which controls it). Check all fuses for the HVAC just to be sure it isn’t a fuse. I recommend an overheating inspection for some initial insight into your cooling problems, performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

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
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Overheating, rusty color in reservoir and its cap, white smoke from exhaust, no heat. Whats the problem? 2002 Oldsmobile Alero

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: Starts and idles fine but then stalls. What causes this?

This is a common sign of a faulty ignition coil. Ignition coils are coated with a varnish-like insulation that becomes brittle over time after being stretched then contracted repeated as the copper beneath them expands and contracts at a higher...

Q: Cat monitor will not run, even though i've done the 55 mph for 5 minutes or more numerous times....

There are two O2 sensors. One before and one after the catalyst. The one before is used for fuel control for fuel injections and the one placed after the catalyst is used to measure catalyst efficiency. A scanner will be...

Q: We have a 1993 for f250 with a 7.3 idi we have now replaced the water pump thermostat radiator and its still over heating what could

Hello. Overheating can be caused by many things. If you have replaced those cooling system components and the issues continue then there is likely a more serious issue with the engine that is causing the overheating. If the engine overheated...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.