Did I do any damage to my car?

Asked by May 26, 2012 at 02:34 PM about the 2002 Ford Taurus SEL

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Last night my friend and I were driving and the low coolant light came on in my car. At the time I didn't know what that meant, so I shut off the A/C and opened the windows. We continued driving. I didn't see any smoke or smell anything out of the ordinary. We passed her house and I tried to find a street in which to make a K turn so that I was facing in the right direction to drive home after dropping her off.

We turned up this long, uphill, narrow, dead end road, and finally reached the end, where I tried to do the K turn. It was really steep and because we were angled downhill we almost rolled into a ditch when I shifted from reverse to drive. I floored it and the tires screeched, pulling us out of the ditch and back onto the road. That's when I noticed that there was smoke coming up from under the hood and it started to smell like something was burning. The smoke and smell dissipated as we continued driving but I did not notice any smoke or smell until that point, as the windows had been open. I checked the temperature on the dash and the bar was between H and C so the car was not overheated. I drove her home, parked the car, and had her stepdad pop open the hood and take a look.  It appeared to be leaking coolant and radiator fluid, not oil.  When I maneuvered the car to get it further off the street it was still leaking on the pavement.

The car was towed on a flatbed and when it rolled off the flatbed there was leaked coolant on the flatbed, leading me to believe that it was leaking all that time and that I didn't overheat or do any damage to the engine or the heating core. I think that the water pump gave way, which caused the coolant and radiator to leak.

I hope that it just has to be flushed and some hoses replaced. I couldn't have driven more than 8 miles with the "Low Coolant" light on. Did I do any severe damage to the engine or heating core of my car?  Did I seize the engine or blow a gasket or is this an easy fix?

4 Answers

315

you prob won't know until you get leak fixed,but sometimes you can tell of headgasket failure by checking to see if engine oil is white/gray in color,this indicates headgasket failure

237,715

The smoke and smell might have been the coolant on the exhaust pipes. When you replace the water pump and hoses, replace the thermostat as well, and check your oil like James mentioned.

175

The thermostat may be bad, or your heater core could be bad. When this happes it gets hot, but not hot enough to blow your engine. It causes the coolant tank to crack and thats where your leak could be.

No you did not damage your car engine. You can add more antifreeze to the cold line. If you don't know what to do go to the nearest auto parts store and they will help you. It is common that coolant hoses wear out so they mabe leaking.I would look for leaks first.

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