Today I filled the coolant reservoir with water.

  • 1999 FORD TAURUS
  • 174,000 MILES
Today I filled the coolant reservoir with water cause it was low and I forgot to put the cap back on, I drove from granada hills a little passed santa clarita on the freeway till I noticed I couldn't accelerate any faster past 60mph, my engine light came on and flashed a few times then turned off, I coasted off the off ramp, which was only a few feet away from where I was, turned my car off and lifted the hood and tons of steam was rising from the reservoir and just the engine from all the water having sprayed everywhere. I waited and added more water, tried turning my car on again, wouldn't start. A couple hours later I came back, everything was cooled off, I added water and filled the radiator full, tried to turn on the car, all you hear is the starter trying to turn over. Did I seize up my engine. Blow a head gasket. Or do I need coolant with oil in it to fix this? I'm so upset this happened. My engine was probably as hot as the sun when this happened. I drive a 1999 ford taurus. What could be the main problem?
Sunday, March 17th, 2013 AT 5:34 AM

1 Reply

Leaving that cap off did not cause this problem. The fact you had to add coolant proves there was already something leaking that just got worse. You should have seen the temperature gauge going up but many cars just have warning lights. It's too late by the time those comes on.

Based on your description of the symptoms, my first guess is a cylinder head gasket was already leaking and it just got worse. Head gaskets fail on any car but to be sure, your mechanic will have to diagnose it.
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Sunday, March 17th, 2013 AT 6:26 AM

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