1999 Honda Civic Repair Question
Asked on January 3, 2011
1999 Honda Civic heats up and and has white smoke coming from under the hood
1999 Honda Civic mileage: 120,000. The car heats up a lot and sometimes I can see white smoke coming out of the hood. I check the coolant and its always half empty so I filled it up. The car drives for a while until the problem comes up again with very low coolant. I rested the car, let it cool down, and then open up the radiator and the radiator boils very hot like a hot lava volcano. Well, to get rid of that problem, I went ahead and replace the radiator with a brand new one. It works for a while but the problem remains with hot boiling and coolant half empty. I got frustrated and took the car to the auto shop. He said it was a cracked head gasket. I said okay fine go ahead and re-surface it so he did. It cost me over $800.00 for the service. Well, feeling a little better, I thought the problem is fixed now. No more white smoke, no more hot heated engine. Well, that was roughly a year ago and today the problem is still the same? I replaced the radiator with another one and had it flushed. Still the car is over-heated and white smoke everywhere. The car is just seating at home in the garage and has not moved since April 2000. Now when I go and try to start the car, it sounds horrible like choking and then white smoke would come out of the muffler like crazy. What do I need to do? I thought having the auto shop re-surfacing the head gasket would cure the problem but it didn't. Do I need to have it done again? Can the head gasket be permanently fixed? I thought about just replacing the engine since it cost about the same to fix the head gasket. What is your opinion on this?
Replied on January 3, 2011
It sounds like your original problem was a cracked head that was repaired and then resurfaced. The repair probably lasted one year and then you experienced the same overheating problem. If the rest of the engine is in good shape, you may want to consider replacing the cylinder head. The reason you are experiencing the white smoke when starting it now, is probably the result of coolant in the exhaust system. Removing the head and inspecting it, will verify what we suspect.