When it happens that quickly and smokes that badly, the damage is usually more to your pride than to the engine. Typically you can expect to find a ruptured radiator or heater hose. Cylinder head gaskets and water pumps are also common leak items but they don't leak that fast and don't typically cause smoke around the engine.
Once the engine has cooled down, pour water into the radiator, then watch and listen for where it's running out. If a hose has ruptured, a new one will get you going, but consider replacing them all since they're all the same age and just as likely to fail. Once the leak is solved, drain the water and add antifreeze, especially if you live where it gets down to freezing temperatures. Your engine needs the water pump lubricant and corrosion inhibitor additives in antifreeze.
If the reservoir is empty, don't fill it yet. Any repair shop, and probably a lot of auto parts stores can measure the freeze point of your coolant after the engine has gone through a few warm-up / cool-down cycles to mix the antifreeze and water. The best compromise is to get it to -35 degrees F. If there needs to be more antifreeze in the mixture, you'll have the empty reservoir to put it into. If the reservoir is already full, you have to drain out a lot of coolant to make room for the antifreeze, and that wastes the antifreeze you already put in.
Friday, November 7th, 2014 AT 9:22 PM