The check engine light (actually Service Engine Soon) is NOT on. Interestingly enough, while we were running the water pump test you suggested, the temp continued to climb as we were adding more fluid (which I am assuming means the pump was working since the fluid level continued to drop), but when we turned the car off and pulled the drain valve from the radiator and drained off about 2-3 cups, the temp gauge went down to normal operating temp. I climbed back up again when we turned the car back on. Any idea what that indicates???
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Possible that the ECT (engine coolant temperature sensor) is faulty, or the wiring to it has been compromised. Try looking the wiring over. If nothing jumps out at you, replace the sensor. Keep in mind, it's the season for critters to seek warmth from engine heat.
Check engine lights have been used for over 30 years and yet most people do not know what they are used for. The check engine light tells the driver a problem exists with the performance or emissions of the engine. Not the actual engine itself. Anytime something happens that could affect emissions or performance, the light comes on and a trouble code is set in the computer memory. The driver then has to have the computer scanned for those codes to know what component to have checked.
If it over heated before the thermostat, replace the radiator cap.
Make sure the coolant (recommend just water until this is fixed) is full.
When disconnecting the upper hose you lose all the coolant from the engine and about 1/3 of the coolant in the radiator.
If you only full the radiator you don't have enough water. The new remonstrate needs to open for you to get enough water.
In short- take radiator cap off.
Start the engine.
Watch level for 5min, filling as needed.
Are you sure the coolantisn't heating up? I had the same issue once and the problem was i hadn't opened the high point vent on the cooling system. there for no liquid was getting to the sensor ie. it wasn't reading the true temp of the coolant. If that's not it try pulling the sensor out get enough slack in the wiring so you can get the sensor into a small pan of water. put scalding hot/boiling water in the pan have someone watch the guage put the business end of the sensor into the water and see if your temp rises. If not you were ether given the wrong sensor or a defective one.
Take it to a shop or auto parts store and have the alternator output checked, it may not be producing enough amps at idle to keep the electrical system properly charged. Please rate this answer, thanks.
Service engine soon lights don't actually refer to the fact the vehicle needs some sort of routine maintenence.It actually is the computers way of saying that something has malfunctioned enough to cause a problem with emissions.The only way to find the problem is to scan the computer with a code reader.So if you arent car saavy you are going to need to go to a repair shop.Find a shop that gives free estimates and be sure to have them expain the problem they found and how they will solve it before granting permission for work to be done.Hope this helps.
You may have a Faulty Oil Pressure Sender.
Here are some reason why your guage is bouncing:
Corrosion or faulty electrical connections
If the oil pressure gauge is pegged low after the engine is running, or is pegged high after the engine is running, or if there is intermittent illumination of an oil pressure indicator light, the sender could be faulty
You can find the oil sensor on the left hand side near the Oil Filter, as long as you don't hear your lifters ticking and making lots of noise. it's not your oil pump failing.
Good luck and hope this helps
Sorry to hear it wasn't the thermostat, Other possible causes inlcudes low coolant, water pump and or waterpump belt, radiator blockage, and radiator cap not maintaining pressure. Check you coolant level first, fill if it's low, typically if it was the pump you would devolop a coolant leak as the pressure builds in the pump assembly. Check the belt though, any squeaks while running? Also if the seal in the raditor cap is bad then no pressure can build. To test the pump remove the raditaor cap (ensure the motor is COLD!!) and start the motor w/o the cap installed, watch the coolant level as it is should be going down slowly as it pumps through the system. Also check the seal on the raditor cap for any cracks's or visible damage.
The temp sensor is a possibilty but a rare one at that.