Question about 2003 Pontiac Aztek

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Overheating Probably 3 times a month the vehicle overheats, heater stops working and vehicle won't accelerate. No leaking fluids and the water and coolant levels are fine. Some think it's a blown head gasket, others say maybe the thermostat is sticking. Thanks.

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It would have to be the thermostat since the fluid levels are fine on it....

Posted on Jan 25, 2009

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If you smell steam/water/antifreeze inside the vehicle, then most likely you have a heater core issue. If it is more 'overheating' smell outside of the vehicle, it could be overflow container leaking on hot parts, leaking hose, radiator leak, etc.

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if your sure the cooling system is full than i wouldn't be surprised if you had a head gasket that has failed.

This would explain the water noise, and overheating.

With the engine cold remove the radiator cap, start the vehicle and let it idle. continue to monitor the coolant level in the radiator. top it off if it gets low. If you see a constant perculation of air bubbles coming out of the radiator than the head gasket is bad.

Sometimes you can also smell the radiator or the overflow. If it smells like exhaust than the head gasket is leaking.

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It sounds like you have a clogged radiator. You need to flush it out . If it won't unclog you will need to replace it. Sometimes if you ever use stop leak in your radiator, you need to flush that out if you ever replace anti freeze or add more stop leak. Remove radiator cap and start car and let it warm up to operating temp. Fill radiator where you can see the fluid with cap off. While looking at antifreeze gently give the engine a little gas and see if the antifreeze circulates by going down. If it doen't then it is either water pump, thermostat or a plugged up radiator. Good luck.

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If I may ask, what color was the antifreeze that you took out of your car? If the coolant is not actually overheating, the coolant temperature sensor could be bad. Check the routing of the serpentine belt. It is possible to get the belt on wrong and turn the water pump in the wrong direction, which would cause overheating because the coolant would not be circulating as it should. That would also prevent the heater from working since the coolant would not be flowing through the heater core.

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Two things would cause this

There is a slow leak and the radiator is low on fluid

Let the vehicle cool down completely and then check the level in the radiator. I bet its pretty low. Top off the radiator with a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. start the vehicle and let it warm up with out the radiator cap on. Keep adding fluid as necessary. While waiting for it to warm up check around for any abvious coolant leaks. Things like hoses, radiator seams, water pump, water inlet/outlet gaskets. If no leaks are found it may be necessary to pressure test the cooling system and even then it might be a slow leak that only occurs when the vehicle is cold.

If the radiator is full than I would suspect that water pump is no longer working or creating enough flow. If the thermostat where stuck you would still get heat. If the water pump is not circulating coolant than you would get no heat and the car would overheat.

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HI. It could possibly be the the thermostat is stuck shut. If thats the case when the vehicle warms up it will probably overheat all the time. The best way to tell is buy a new one and change it. They are usualy around $10.00 at any autoparts store. If you change it and it still overheats, it could be the waterpump.

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