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 1,000 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!
  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: Car won't crank. I think its the timimg belt

Hey there. I'm a little confused by your issue. If your car's engine won't crank over, it typically is related to the starter motor or ignition system. A broken timing belt will prohibit the motor from spinning over, but you'll...

Q: I HAVE A 2002 OLDSMOBILE ALERO 3.4L V6

Catalytic converters are typically welded to the exhaust system. Currently YourMechanic does not provide catalytic converter replacement services.

Q: My vehicle keeps overheating.

Hi there. The overheating condition could be caused by three different things on your vehicle. Plugged Radiator Water pump failure Burned head gasket The radiator could be plugged up causing the coolant to not flow when the engine...

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...
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...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...