My 1999 VW was blinking a red thermometer as soon as I turned the car on. I checked the oil and water and it was fine. I drove car and white smoke started coming out of the engine and exhaust, there was a little black smoke also and the car just quietly turned off and now it just makes the starting sound but will not start. When I checked again the water was very little and the oil also.


Maybe your water pump failed? Causing your coolant to boil inside the block destroying seals and gaskets allowing water and oil to invade where they shouldn't, further boiling/burning into smoke and eventually stalling the engine.

First thing you want to do is investigate what caused your cooling system to fail and also identify where your fluids went. Was there a massive leak or was it all boiled or burned? Is there now coolant in your oil or oil in your coolant?

Does the starter still turn the crank over or has it seized? Run a compression test on the engine to see if the cylinders have been damaged (Don't start the engine though).

You will likely be looking at head gasket replacement at the very least. You might want to take it to a shop for diagnosis but buying a new engine or vehicle might be quicker and easier and probably even cheaper.

  • Mike hit the nail on the head, the best case scenario here is that the head gasket is blown to pieces, and there's little chance that it makes sense financially to pay for that kind of repair on a 14 y/o beetle. May 15 '13 at 22:50
  • Yes, the starter still turns and both the oil and the coolant were almost gone. The defroster wasn't working the night before so the coolant thing makes sense. I am taking it in to see what the machanic says, but I might be visiting cash for clunkers soon. R.I.P chole( My 1999 beetle). WE will see and I will let you guys know what happens. Thanks alot.
    – user3167
    May 16 '13 at 4:40
  • Is it supposed to be "Chole" or Chloe?
    – Mike Saull
    May 16 '13 at 15:43
  • Depending on the vehicle, a head gasket job can be easy or a nightmare. If that's all the car needs, I'd look into seeing if it's something you could do before you junk the car. May 17 '13 at 3:54

If you drove the car with the engine that hot, you almost certainly did serious damage to the engine. Smoke would seem to support this theory. It's a bit odd that the temperature light was on as soon as you started the vehicle though. Had it been running just prior to the last start, or sitting cold? At this point, I'd say you're looking to figure out what happened and whether it's repairable. Worst case is probably complete engine replacement. Unfortunately given your description so far of what happened, I think your best case is likely to be major engine overhaul work, which would only make sense as an alternative to replacement if you feel up to doing it yourself (paying someone to do it will cost as much as a new engine).

  • No I had not driven it prior to that start thats why I did not take the light serious after checking the fluids. When I put water in the car the smoke came out the top of the motor.
    – user3167
    May 15 '13 at 21:36
  • You may want to do some research into what causes that light to come on. It sounds like it wasn't actually heat, but perhaps some situation that could lead to overheating like lack of coolant or lack of coolant pressure. May 15 '13 at 21:41
  • If you're really lucky it might "just" be a blown head gasket, but that's usually associated with white smoke/steam rather than black smoke. I'm not really sure what to make of your problem so far, so stick around and see if somebody else has good ideas. May 15 '13 at 21:43
  • It was just a little black smoke, and the white smoke did not continue it would smoke and then clear up it did that until I could safely pull over. which only was a minute or two. Thank you.
    – user3167
    May 15 '13 at 22:56
  • BTW The engine seized and a replacement engine cost me 1296 . Thanks for the feedback.
    – user3167
    Jun 8 '13 at 17:54

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