Sounds like you have more than one issue going on at the same time. First, a rough driving condition wouldn't be effected/fixed by adding water, no matter the reason for the water level being low.
Without providing me with a lot more detail, I couldn't possibly pinpoint a cause and I really don't like taking shots in the dark. But I will give you some quick explanations.
It sounds as though your car was running rough from an intermittent problem, then when you pulled over and noticed the water level was low, you momentarily let the car rest (weather you turned it off or not) and the problem righted itself. This could've been because there was a misfire, the transmission was slipping/overheating, a faulty sensor, bad gas, etc.
Next, if you added water, that means you have a leak somewhere in the system. Adding water won't fix it. You need to find out why your coolant is disappearing and fix it before it blows a head gasket and permanently ruins your engine. Also, adding water without anti-freeze is a sure way to ruin your water pump. Anti-freeze acts as a lubricant for the pump, and running without it is like your engine running without oil. It's a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, and it'll be expensive!
Finally, it is ABSOLUTELY necessary for you to scan for the codes in your computer before you proceed any further. If you neglect this, you'll only spend your time and money chasing these problems with no success. Keep in mind, if the check engine light goes out, the code will remain in the computer anyway. However, once the light goes out, some of the part stores' scanners may not be able to retrieve them. They all use cheap scanners that only recognize codes while the light is on, not off. Only shops and dealers have the professional level scanners capable of retrieving codes with the light out.
Friday, June 14th, 2013 AT 3:40 PM