A few weeks later, I am on the interstate at around 65/70 mph and notice that I am losing power. I considered pulling over many times but it would seem to stabilize and so on I went. After exiting the interstate, I noticed for the first time ever that I was having trouble getting up to speed each time I would stop at a light or in traffic. The car didn't seem to want to go, but it would eventually get going and then drive perfectly until it needed to shift gears (auto transmission). I immediately thought "transmission" and began freaking out.
When my husband came home from work that evening we starting checking fluids and experimenting a bit. Neither of us know much about cars at all, But we figured we could at least LOCATE the problem even if we couldn't identify it - "there's fluid leaking from this hose", "there's a burning smell and smoke coming from that black thing", or something along those lines. All we found was a sticker saying that my car requires DEX coolant. My husband had not used this type of coolant. Oops.
I called a few mechanics who all agreed this mixing of coolants was not causing the issues I had described to them, but did suggest that I flush the system. Out of necessity, I continued to drive the car short distances with the approval of the mechanics I had spoken to. The car continued to lack power at take off and when transitioning between gears, or at least that's what it seemed to be to me. The car also began to make new noises, a few of them, a whine, a vibrating knock, and almost a grinding.
Finally, one evening after picking my son up from school, things got serious. I could barely go over 35 mph with the pedal to the floor, if I could get even THAT much speed. I let my foot off of the gas a few times and the speedometer remained at 35 mph and the engine still continued to rev. The last two miles of the trip, I drove at or below 15 mph and even that felt like a struggle. I decided to park the car until I could afford fix it.
Then a friend looked at it. He couldn't figure it out. A few days later he called and asked if I happened to be missing my gas cap, which I was. Plus, the little protective flap inside the hole you pump your gas into was bent in, leaving only the door to keep rain water out of my tank. He suggested I buy a water-drying gas additive. I added the product, put on a new gas cap and then drove to the gas station to fill it up. On the way to the gas station, I never broke 10 mph and it sputtered and fussed the whole way. However, after filling it up with gas, the performance improved dramatically over the course of about 10 miles. It only seemed to hesitate a little bit in first gear but on the whole, the drive was smooth and quiet. I was so relieved!
This morning I chose to drive my son to school in the car to see if it was still driving well. I could immediately tell it had reverted back to the nonsense. I was unable to get power at take off. I drove the whole way at 35 mph or less. The knocking and whining was back. I pulled off at a gas station. When I parked the car and popped the hood it was super hot under there. I pulled out the dipstick to check the oil. The oil read pretty high but looked somewhat thin, perhaps even watery. It was more rusty-reddish colored than black or dark brown. Most shockingly, there was white steam/smoke rolling from the dipstick tube! I had no choice but drive home - very slowly. On the way I noticed I was losing oil pressure and the temp was rising - not quite to the red but halfway between normal and red. When I got home and parked, I turned the engine off but sat in the car for a moment and made a quick phone call. When I ended the call I heard a gurgling noise from under the hood. I popped my hood and the fluid in my coolant reservoir was bubbling and shooting from the overflow tube.
No one seems to know what the heck is going on. I have asked five or six people and gotten different answers from every one of them. Before I take it to the shop I want to have some idea what might be happening because I feel like I am going to get taken advantage of otherwise.
Anyone have any ideas?
have the same problem?
Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 AT 10:25 AM