My 2002 PT Cruiser is overheating
If you are not mechanically inclined, take your car to a reputable shop that offers a warranty on parts and labor. The most common causes seem to be: 1- a faulty thermostat, which usually requires replacement (inexpensive); 2 - a clogged radiator, which usually requires replacement (not cheap but relatively inexpensive; ; 3 - a faulty cooling fan, which usually requires replacement (more expensive but not necessarily prohibitively expensive); 3 - or - and this is the one you definitely hope it's not - a faulty water pump and/or head gasket. Just reading the responses to queries such as yours on this website, the claims of price to remedy this problem range from $299 to $2,000. When my overheating problem occurred, I was quoted and paid $1,700 (replacement of the head gasket, water pump, thermostat, fluids), but this also included changing out the timing belt, which has nothing to do with your cooling problem. Since you didn't mention the mileage on your vehicle, I can only recommend what was offered me and that I consistently see on this website...if your car is anywhere near 100K, change out the timing belt; the consequences of not doing so will only compound the problems you're already experiencing. Since the motor is already opened up, it's less expensive to go ahead and replace the timing belt than to have the water pump replaced and then to have the motor opened a second time to replace the timing belt and have to pay for labor on this separate repair. Not doing so may end up with you weighing the options of either paying enough in repairs that you'll wish you had put into a healthy down payment on a a replacement car or just go ahead, cut your losses and go ahead and put the money into a down payment on a replacement car. Repairing it now, while expensive, can be an investment in many more trouble-free miles, but as I stated in the beginning, if you don't know how to do the work yourself, find a reputable, nationally accredited shop to do the work, and get the best warranty that you can find. It can save you even more money in the long run if you have a recurrence of the same problem in the future.
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Kelly Little Ashford