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A few weeks ago our cars temp gauge starting rising only when we were stopped fairly quick. When we drove, it would gradually go down to normal. Our heat also only works when we drive (Foot has to be on the gas continuously). I suggested changing the radiator cap or tightening it. WE tightened the cap and it worked car went back to normal. We bought a new cap thinking the other one was bad and the car went right back to doing the same thing it was doing prior to anything so we put the old one back on and it quit yet again.. WE obviously know something is wrong but figured we had a small window to get by to get money to have it looked at. Recently the temp gauge has been going up to dangerous hot levels within a few minutes of starting the car. I never see any smoking, hear any bubbling even the car will still have frost on the hood.

Is the car really over heating? Can someone give me some advice on what could be causing this or what else to rule in or out, so I don't get jipped by a mechanic for money and I can go strait to the source, thanks.

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From what you have described, yes, it is likely overheating. You do not want to take it beyond what is going on now because you could cause major engine damage.

I am not sure we can tell you exactly what is wrong, but here are a few things it could be.

  1. Low coolant or wrong mix. Low coolant will cause lack of cabin heat. Don't run just water. There needs to be a 50/50 blend of coolant.
  2. The cooling fan may not be functioning. This fan pulls air through the radiator while the car is not moving. Could be why you see the temp rise while the car is stopped.
  3. The water pump is failing. This pump circulates the coolant through the engine and radiator. Without circulating the coolant cannot exchange the heat in the radiator, thereby causing the engine temp to rise and may be why you only feel the heat when you drive.
  4. There could be a blockage in the cooling system causing poor flow and cooling.
  5. Could be a stuck thermostat. The thermostat controls the flow of coolant to the radiator to keep the engine at the proper temperature.
  6. It could be a combination of any of the above.

As far as getting "jipped", ask around before you choose who to take it to. Take it to a mechanic who has a good reputation.

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  • Thank you for letting me know where to start.. Appreciate the response! – Heather Feb 13 '18 at 18:26
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Suggestions above are not that hard to do if your good with identifying the parts that they talked about. Changing thermostat and gasket for housing is easy. You can find a diy video to show you also A radiator and cooling system flush is easy just a bit time consuming. Again a diy video can show you how. Plus the directions are on the product any auto store auto zone or oreillys can assist with best one for your vehicle. Plus the antifreeze needs be mixed according to your region as well. Again ask auto parts store for best mix and type. Remember there are different types now. Most common is the green and orange (dex-cool) check sticker under hood or ask auto store. Make sure you use what's suggested for your vehicles make and model. I'm a woman its why I stated this cuz learning to do alot of this saves money and also helps you to identify problems when they come up.

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  • Welcome to the site, Anita. Glad to see you jumping in to give great advice. Just a couple of pointers for improving future answers. This is a Q&A site, not a forum, so answers should actually answer the question asked. This does not mean what you have posted is not valuable, it's just more like a comment than an answer. Also, keep in mind this is an international site, so referencing specific auto parts stores may not be helpful. This is a great site and there is a lot of great experience here. Glad you joined us. – CharlieRB Feb 14 '18 at 16:12

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