PDA

View Full Version : If your car over heats it is still driveable.....


kiss04bam
04-06-2009, 11:03 PM
If your car over heats it is still driveable.....After you pull over and let it cool off.
What action should be taken if it over heats? Thanks!

Stew21
04-06-2009, 11:06 PM
If it overheats chances are it will take a long time to cool off and will require further action to get very far - such as filling up with coolant, but if it is a leak in the water pump or something like that, coolant won't last very long either. It might cool off long enough for you to get it to the shop for repair.

Clair Dickson
04-06-2009, 11:18 PM
Depending on how badly it overheats, yeah, it's still driveable. My mom drove a car that had a bad habit of overheating everywhere we went. She'd turn the heat on full blast and drive until the it go too hot. Then she'd add more water to the coolant tank, wait a little while for the temp to come down, and continue on.

It is possible to warp the head if you continue to drive a car that's overheating. This is Very Bad and pretty much the end of the engine.

Last time my car overheated (fan wouldn't kick on until it reached the danger mark-- thanks car!) I would turn it off for a few minutes. The problem was exacerbated by being stuck in construction traffic (no place to pull off) and it being a hot, humid 80+ degree summer afternoon. But, the car kept going and once I was moving at a decent speed, the movement of air past the engine cooled it. (I'm still driving the car.)

Williebee
04-06-2009, 11:34 PM
Let's see... As Miss Clair mentioned, if it's overheating and you must get farther down the road, open the windows, turn the heat on full and the fan on high. You'll sweat, but you can travel.

I've also seen folks melt ice from a cooler and pour it into the radiator, oh, and seen guys stand on the bumper and try to pee into the open radiator (it worked, btw).

An overheating car can burst a hose, warp the heads, crack the block or the radiator.... The radiator leak can (sometimes) be temporarily patched by pouring coffee grounds into the radiator. I once saw a group of guys use aircraft cable and sheet plywood to hold a cracked block together enough to get their old firetruck another fifty miles down the road.

yeah, i know, more than you were asking for. It's my day off.

Maui Author
04-06-2009, 11:40 PM
My car just overheated on Saturday. We pulled the car over - which wasn't easy as it had died and made the steering wheel really hard to turn. Then we opened the hood and waited for about 10 minutes for it to cool off, then poured more water into the radiator and then drove the rest of the way home. We now have to figure out how to fix the leak in the radiator.

kiss04bam
04-06-2009, 11:50 PM
Maybe I need something more major for my character. I was going to start my book with her car over heating/ or broke down. But I didnt want nothing major, just major enough that she has to walk home (lives close by). And then go from there.

MissKris
04-07-2009, 12:20 AM
Does she know how to change a tire? Give her a flat.
Maybe her fuel indicator is broken and she doesn't realize, so she runs out of gas even though the hand is pointing to "full."

Hmm, what else . . .

Feiss
04-07-2009, 12:28 AM
The first five years we moved here, my parents drove a $400 car that overheated regularly. We didn't have enough money to fix the radiator, so we'd keep 8 gallons of water in the trunk. Inevitably, getting somewhere would require at least one pull-over where they'd pour water over the radiator (or something like that, I was 5 years old, so I assumed they were using the water for magic). It just became something necessary to do, like getting gas or cleaning your windows. We drove that car for 4 years even with the overheating.

archerjoe
04-07-2009, 01:16 AM
Does she know how to change a tire? Give her a flat.
Maybe her fuel indicator is broken and she doesn't realize, so she runs out of gas even though the hand is pointing to "full."

Hmm, what else . . .

Or a flat with no air in the spare. Add some drama getting the flat tire off, putting the spare on and seeing it be flat after reversing the jack.

Williebee
04-07-2009, 01:56 AM
flat and no spare
broken fan belt
if you want her to have no automotive repair skills, but for it to be easy? A loose battery cable on the negative (black wire) side will kill a car dead. Tighten it up and it's "right as rain" again.

Clair Dickson
04-07-2009, 02:25 AM
I had the pin come off my clutch pedal once. That was awesome. Push the clutch pedal and it goes to the floor-- can't shift gears since the clutch won't engage. Can't go far, since you're stuck in one gear. I didn't have a clue what happened. My Older Bother fixed the pedal with a zip-tie. (There's still a zip tie on the pedal, some five years later.) It was one of those things that completely flabbergasted me, but my experienced Bother knew exactly what it was soon as he got in.

The flat with no air in the spare is awesome. I did that one last year. It gets better when you round the damn lugnuts off because some stupid family member took the good tire iron and left you with the OEM POS one that doesn't quite fit. I didn't even realize the spare was flat until I lowered the car onto it... that was a sucky, sucky day.

You could have the gas tank fall off (happened to my little brother.) No gas, no go.

Oh, brake line failure is a good one. If it happens at a low enough speed, you'll have enough brake fluid in the lines to stop. Shoot, I drove my car across town while it was pissing brake fluid from the brake lines. It's also enough to give even a healthy young person a heart attack. But, you won't want to drive that car if you can help it. I only did it because I was driving a few miles across town to the car shop. And my brother had reassured me that I'd have enough stopping power to get there (he was right.) But someone who's never had to drive with busted out brake lines will not want to keep driving when they've got only the most minimal stopping ability.

Ms Hollands
04-07-2009, 03:15 AM
Yes, if the car is old, as mine is, watch out for the accelerator pedal suddenly falling away, making the car undrivable. There's a rubber bit (on my car at least) that had corroded to nothing. Weeks on, I'm still waiting for it to be fixed. A piece of bloody rubber!!

Alternatively, a problem where the alternator doesn't recharge the battery so that if she's driving along, the electricals will just die for no obvious reason: no indicators, no windscreen wipers, no stereo, no headlights. If it's dark and/or raining, she'd have to pull over. Thing is, once she's stopped it, the battery is already flat so she won't be able to start it again.

Although flat tyre, no air on the spare sounds like much less hassle to include in a novel not aimed at mechanics.

StephanieFox
04-07-2009, 04:43 AM
If your car overheats and you have a garden hose available, you can let it cool a little and then pour water on the engine. And yes, you can drive a car for a while when it overheats, but if you push it, you may not ever be able to drive it again.

You also want to make sure that the radiator isn't plugged up.

Pulling over and opening the hood to let it cool is really a good idea.

Phoebe H
04-07-2009, 05:06 AM
If your car overheats and you have a garden hose available, you can let it cool a little and then pour water on the engine. And yes, you can drive a car for a while when it overheats, but if you push it, you may not ever be able to drive it again.

This is true, but please remember: Don't put cold water in a hot engine. That's bad.

Either let the engine cool down, or make sure the water is at least lukewarm.

I learned this one the hard way. The overheated engine would have been fine, if I hadn't put cold water in it and cracked it. Oops!

Leva
04-07-2009, 05:16 AM
Depending on the type of engine, it may or may NOT be driveable after it overheats. If it's an aluminum block engine, it may well be toast. My mom killed a jeep engine that way -- it blew a radiator hose in heavy traffic on the freeway and by the time she pulled over, the engine was seized.

On the other hand, I had an old 78 Thunderbird with a 486 in it ... honking big piece of iron. Almost the exact same thing happened with it, and it was just fine. And I drove it OFF the freeway and a mile to a safe parking place because there was road construction and no place to pull over safely on the freeway. (That sucker used almost as much oil as it did gas, but that was true even before it blew the radiator hose.)

BTW, if you want a really mystifying problem, it's possible for a battery to short out internally. Then the car won't stop, and has no power, but you can't jump it either. The solution to getting it started is to unhook the battery and attach the jumper cables directly to the battery cables. Once you have the car started, you can remove the jumper cables. (You don't need a battery hooked up to run most cars, as long as the alternator's in good shape.)

Another way to disable a car, come to think of it, is an alternator that's gone bad. The alternator powers the car (including the spark that ignites the gas in a gas engine) -- the battery's normally just for starting the car. However, if the alternator goes, then the car runs off battery power until the battery goes dead. And while the battery is dying, all the lights get progressively dimmer and, if the alternator is giving out SOME power, they flicker and dim depending on how fast you're going.

I've had this happen on a remote country road -- and I managed to limp the last five miles into town by using a "jumper box" battery macgyver'd into place, and by turning off all the lights, the air conditioning, etc. (You know those battery packs you charge and keep in your trunk in case you have a dead battery and nobody to give you a jump? One of those, wired in place of the drawn-down battery.)

kikilynn
04-07-2009, 05:19 AM
Mine overheated, but I had no choice but to drive it. I had kids to cart around and errands to get done. My dad's a mechanic of sorts so he looked at it. I filled it with water everytime I went to go somewhere. It lasted 3 months before the engine blew. By that time I already had a new car. Not bad for $500.

Chumplet
04-07-2009, 07:07 AM
These are a few of my cars:

'96 Escort: Serpentine belt broke on Christmas Eve. It felt like something major fell off the car, like the muffler. It got home, but the steering was brutal and the remaining charge on the battery was just enough to get it to the shop five minutes down the road.

Clutch cable snapped on my '75 Honda. I pushed the pedal, it went clunk and hit the floorboards with no resistance. I was able to push it to a parkig spot and make a call to get it towed.

Same car, the gasket blew. Lights flashing everywhere. Pulled over on the highway.

Another Honda: The starter was pooched and I had to hit it with a hammer to get the car to start.

Another time, the alternator was dying and we had to bump start the car by rolling it down a hill and kicking in the clutch while turning the key.

Silver King
04-07-2009, 07:16 AM
This is true, but please remember: Don't put cold water in a hot engine. That's bad.

Either let the engine cool down, or make sure the water is at least lukewarm.

I learned this one the hard way. The overheated engine would have been fine, if I hadn't put cold water in it and cracked it. Oops!
You can add ice water to a hot radiator if you have to, but the engine must be running when the water is added to avoid damage.

Also, never take the radiator cap completely off of an overheated engine until after the pressure has been released by turning the cap part way. And always use a towel or some other barrier while unscrewing the cap to protect your face and upper body from the steam that might shoot outward.

Williebee
04-07-2009, 07:25 AM
Had a 71 camaro for awhile. I missed a turn once, about 3 am on a back country road in Virginia. It was snowing like crazy. I found a place to do a three point turnaround, turned left, shifted in reverse, and backed up. When I went to shift into drive the shifter (on the console between the seats) just flipped freely, back and forth. the cotter pin that holds it together broke. I hiked about a quarter mile to the nearest house, knocked and woke the folks there up. The guy who answered the door? The guy who lived there in the middle of nowhere? Collected Camaros. He had a 71 in his garage, and extra pins for it. I was on my way 20 min. later. :)

We traded cards and Chrismas presents for years after that. go figure.

RJK
04-07-2009, 08:04 PM
Williebee, that sounds like a farmer's daughter story. If I went to some guys house on a country road, I'd probably be met by a shotgun.

Leva
04-09-2009, 07:29 PM
The '78 thunderbird I mentioned?

Off the top of my head, in a space of eight months, I replaced the transmission, the starter, the alternator (twice), the battery (twice), the vaccuum switch that opened the headlight doors, the # 8 spark plug umpteen zillion times (bad valve -- and it had to be the one that was the hardest to get to), the power steering pump, the belts, the belts AGAIN after a new one broke, repaired the front end, rebuilt the rear transfer case, tuned it up every over week, and rebuilt the carbureator. Plus some minor problems.

It caught fire once.

It broke down in weird ways, in terrible places.

I gave up on it when I couldn't go 20 miles without the spark plug fouling, and a new valve job would have cost more than the Jeep I replaced it with. (And I put 145K miles on that jeep AFTER I bought it.)

I wouldn't even drive that beast in the left lane on the freeway, I stayed on the right, just in case it broke down.

I swear that car was posessed. It was evil.

There's a reason why I often give villains a baby blue 1978 Thunderbird ... *grins*

The Lonely One
04-09-2009, 08:49 PM
Here are two different experiences:

I bought a lemon (car, not an actual lemon). Guy sold it to me with no coolant in the tank due to an awful leak, and that was only one of the many problems. Let's go to the night after I bought the car. I got the '93 Eclipse 5-speed, my first manual car and took it on the highway to drive back to Tampa, about 100 miles north of where I bought it from. Say, 20 miles into the trip I notice the engine heat rise. Well the exit is blocked off and I'm on a bridge with a sign "no stopping on bridge." Fuck. By the time I hit the next exit steam pours out of the hood, all the electronics and the car die. This all happened over about 1 or 2 minutes once the temp got high.

My friend's car overheated, and he drove it (stupidly) about 5-10 miles down the road to his mechanic. While it was overheating, and it ran fine. He warped a gasket, but it ran, which is what amazed me.

Pagey's_Girl
04-09-2009, 09:18 PM
My father had a crappy old Blazer for years that regularly blew something called either the EGR or EWR valve. I don't know what the thing did, but when it blew every warning light in the vehicle would come on and the engine would splutter. It was still driveable, but barely. The power steering and brakes would be kaput.

And the flat with no air in the spare? Happened to me. I was just lucky that the tire decided to go flat in the garage.

Shail
04-09-2009, 09:32 PM
I have a ninty something Plymoth Acclaim. (Yeah, super lame). The water pump leaks like a funnel. I drove it twenty miles with no water in the radiator, filled the radiator at the first opportunity, and the car was fine. I'll never do that again.

SirOtter
04-09-2009, 09:41 PM
'96 Escort: Serpentine belt broke on Christmas Eve. It felt like something major fell off the car, like the muffler. It got home, but the steering was brutal and the remaining charge on the battery was just enough to get it to the shop five minutes down the road.

For future reference: a pair of pantyhose can substitute for a fan belt long enough to reach a repair shop.

You can sometimes duct tape a broken hose. A friend of mine once bought an ancient Renault and found one of the hoses was nothing BUT duct tape. I recommend keeping a roll in your car, just in case.

There are lots of things that can go wrong with a cooling system, and at one time or another I've had every one happen to a car. Heater core goes and dumps all your water into your floorboards - that's fun. Fan goes bad so any stop and go traffic causes the engine to overheat - you do fine at high speed, but get caught in construction and you're screwed. Water pump dumps your water on the pavement - tow truck time.

My first car was a '61 Ford Falcon. The linkage pin (or whatever it's really called) in the carburetor broke at 4 AM. I found a safety pin in the glove box, hooked the thing back together and got home fine. I drove it another year with the carburetor held together by that safety pin.

I'm seriously considering dumping the vehicles and buying myself a mule.

lexxi
04-09-2009, 10:18 PM
Once we were driving home in a 3-year-old 1976? station wagon. It overheated about 4 blocks down the hill from our house. We thought we would just make it home and then call for service. The car had other ideas and ground to a stop. We had it towed to the repair shop, but the whole engine would have needed to be replaced, which was too expensive to make it worth salvaging the car. So that was the end of that car.

SirOtter
04-10-2009, 02:51 AM
Once we were driving home in a 3-year-old 1976? station wagon. It overheated about 4 blocks down the hill from our house. We thought we would just make it home and then call for service. The car had other ideas and ground to a stop. We had it towed to the repair shop, but the whole engine would have needed to be replaced, which was too expensive to make it worth salvaging the car. So that was the end of that car.

The 70s was a great decade for movies, but probably the worst ever for cars.

RJK
04-10-2009, 06:03 PM
Back in my Patrol days, we used to overheat the patrol cars frequently. Driving at just an idle, just creeping along, windows down so we could listen to what was going on. We had the air conditioning going to try to stay comfortable while wearing our armoured vests. We frequently overtaxed the engine and it would overheat. We'd have to take the car up on the highway and drive at high speed to let the radiator do its work.