Antifreeze ran out - when refilled, car won't start. What next?

  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • 165,000 MILES
My car ran out of antifreeze. I don't know when. We put pre-diluted antifreeze back in the car, but now it won't start.

I have known that my car was slowly leaking antifreeze. When I had my oil changed 6 weeks ago, the technician mentioned that the radiator cap was old/somehow responsible for the leak, so the cap was replaced.

Over the last week, my car has been increasingly difficult to start. I thought it was just because my car doesn't like cold weather. (I live in Utah. Average temp right now varies between 0 and 20 degrees) I would give it a little extra gas and second or third try the engine would catch and start up.

The exhaust pipe was giving out a significant amount of exhaust. I thought the increased vapor was due to the cold weather as well (cold = condensation).

My brother went to start the car in the morning a few days ago and it wouldn't start. It just clicked. The lights had NOT been left on. We tried jumping the battery, which was replaced under a year ago, and it would not work, even while connected to the other car.

We then discovered that the radiator was totally out of antifreeze. There was a little left in the overflow tank, but the radiator itself looked totally dry.

We tried starting the car again immediately after pouring pre-diluted antifreeze in. It did not start. It will click once and then does not do anything. We let the car sit for over an hour and tried again. Still no go.

What is the next step? What is the most likely problem? What part of the car is most likely to have been damaged by running out of antifreeze? How can I check for damage?

Other background info. Although the care body is old, the engine is new. The engine was put in the car new about 4 years ago and has less than 60,000 miles on it. The fuel filter was changed a year ago and should be good for another 80,000 miles. Spark plugs are also new. Oil was just changed and they topped off my antifreeze at that time. The car sat for two weeks over Christmas break while I was out of town. It worked fine when I got back. It's just over this last week that it's been giving me trouble.
Do you
have the same problem?
Monday, January 10th, 2011 AT 8:32 AM

1 Reply

Headgasket failed
Was this
Monday, January 10th, 2011 AT 6:05 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides