I have 2002 Chrysler I was driving 75 miles in I-95 white smoke began to came from the engine, I pull in the side of the road, my engine was over heating and the radiator was bowling heat I wait for 40 minutes to cool and y put coolant and water in the radiator I heard clockin sound later my engine car won't star.. It is any solution to this problem? it is expensive to fixt? please I need help and advice, Thank you.

  • Please I need help I have to be at my Job at 6:30 am help!
    – Lena
    Sep 22, 2017 at 1:13
  • 1
    Sorry you didn't get a response earlier, but smoking+overheating+ clunking sound almost always means major engine repair will be needed. What color was the smoke?
    – JPhi1618
    Sep 22, 2017 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


The white "smoke" that you saw is almost certainly actually steam from the coolant boiling over. What was the coolant temperature gauge showing both when you saw the steam and in the time leading up to it?

A car's cooling system is quite a complex thing unfortunately and there can be many problems that will result in overheating so tracking down the root cause is often a process of elimination. Some these are going to need a garage but others you can do yourself:

Head Gasket Failure (HGF)

This is generally at the "worse" end of the scale for problems that can cause overheating. Check the oil on the underside of the oil cap and on the dipstick (obviously don't attempt this when the engine is still hot!), if the oil has a creamy aspect to it (like mayonnaise mixed with mud) then this can be an indicator of HGF as it means that coolant is making it's way into the oil. If you find this then it's probably going to be quite an expensive job.

Coolant system leak

There could be a leak somewhere in the cooling system - this could be a split hose or cracked radiator. Unless you can see anything visually the best way to test for these is to pressure test the system. This is something pretty much any mechanic can do for you as it just involves connecting an air pump to the radiator cap opening and trying to "pump up" the system. If it holds pressure then it's not leaking. If it is leaking and it's just a split hose it should be relatively cheap to fix, depending on the model of the car radiators can vary quite wildly in price but it's generally not horrifically expensive.

Stuck thermostat

Most engines have a mechanical thermostat that is supposed to open when the coolant reaches operating temperature. If it doesn't then it will very quickly overheat. Thermostats themselves are generally pretty cheap components, but depending on the engine there can be a lot of labour time involved in getting to them - I just had to have it replaced on one of my cars recently and it involved taking the whole front end of the car off!

Fan failure

Most engines will have one or more fans to cool the radiator, these a generally electrically operated on modern cars but older engines may use a belt from the engine. If the fan fails or if a sensor or fuse or something has failed and prevents the fan starting then the radiator won't be getting fresh air and won't cool very well. This is much more noticeable if you are in traffic, running in clear air substitutes for the fan's action and can mask it.

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