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It was a hot day today - around 90f, and the car was parked outside. As we were getting ready to leave, I did the remote start. We get in the car about 5 minutes later. Right As I’m about to start the car, it shuts off. I start it up again, and have a high engine temperature warning. Car is now in some sort of emergency mode (can’t even accelerate it up the driveway). I checked the coolant level. It was low, but still above the min line. I filled it up to max. I’ve let the car sit for 5+ hours now, and it still gives me the high engine temperature warning.

Any thoughts on what’s causing this? Is there an easy fix without having to get it towed?

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With the information provided I can think of two hypotheses

  1. Your thermostat is defective and remains shut therefore preventing the coolant to be cooled by the radiator. Your car will overheat quickly no matter what you do. When the car overheats, is the radiator still relatively cool to the touch? If so this is likely the root cause of the issue.
  2. Your engine gets hot from running and your fan is defective preventing the engine from cooling itself. You can prove this one by driving on the highway. The engine should cool itself with the airflow. With the provided information this is less likely the root cause of the issue.

This explains how to troubleshoot your thermostat

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