2003 Honda civic EX 51,000 miles
A couple of weeks ago, my car started overheating (white smoke coming out of the passenger side). When I opened the hood, I saw that the overflow cap was missing. I put coolant and water in the overflow tank and was able to keep the car temp down long enough to get to a dealer and replace the cap. The car drove fine for about 2 weeks. Today, it started overheating again on the highway and when I opened the hood, the overflow cap was again missing and it looked like liquid had splattered/spilled over the engine. There was also some thick gunk on the top of the radiator cap. I let the car cool down and when I tried to start it again, I had to pump the gas hard and rev the engine a little to get the car to start. Why would the overflow cap keep coming off? I don't know much about cars. Any insight you could offer would be great as I don't want to get taken advantage of when I go to have the car looked at.
Find and remove the thermostat run the engine without it if the overflow cap don't pop open-change the thermostat. Try this first and then comeback
April, 24, 2007 AT 8:28 AM
Have it chemical tested for a blown head gasket.
April, 24, 2007 AT 11:06 AM
Is there something that would cause the head gasket to blow after only about 50,000 miles and the car has been maintained properly? Also, there is some white gunky stuff on and under the radiator cap.I put water and coolant into the overflow tank, but the level has not decreased at all.
Thanks for help.
April, 24, 2007 AT 5:06 PM
Have it block and pressure tested-do the block first to pinpoint a combustion leaking into the cooling system or a gas analyzer to sniff for hydrocarbons at the radiator fill neck.
Pressure test: do not do a pressure test if there's leakage at the headgasket this might cause coolant into the cylinders and lock it up or bend a connecting rod if cranked thereafter. The headgasket should be repaired before doing the pressure test.
If the block and pressure test passes check the following: Thermostat, Clogged radiator, Fan clutch, Radiator electrical fan
April, 24, 2007 AT 7:10 PM
I took it back to the dealer and they said the radiator was not filling up with any pressure. They tried to do a pressure test to check the head gasket, but said they couldn't because the " radiator was bent" (not sure what that means but I think they meant the fill neck was bent). Anyways, they replaced the radiator (the inside of which was coated with thick white goo) and they replaced the thermostat. They were then able to do the pressure test and said there were no leaks in the gasket (phew!). I will be picking the car up tomorrow, so hopefully there won't be any more problems.
Thank you for all your help on this.
R A AUTOMOTIVE
March, 21, 2011 AT 8:58 PM
I am having the same problem. I chemical tested it for a blown head gasket and it failed. Replace the head gasket and had the head resurfaced and pressure checked. I put it all back together and the overheating issued returned.