How long can you drive an overheating car before damage?

Asked by Apr 18, 2016 at 11:25 PM about the 2008 Ford Focus SE Coupe

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I was driving home from work and the tensioner pulley broke off. Since it
broke off, the belt fell off and of course, I lost my power steering, alternator,
etc. Luckily I was only about 1 min away from my home so I was able to
make it, but it was overheating and it made it into the red when i got on my
street. Is there a chance that I damaged my head gasket? or anything else? I
turned the heat on high hoping it would have helped, but no luck.
As I mentioned before, I only drove about a minute while it was overheating.
Should I be concerned?

1 Answer

217,055

You won't know till you do some testing on the engine, like a cylinder pressure test and or leak down if the headgasket is fine. I'd repair the car by replacing the tensioner and pulley, and serpentine belt, change the oil and coolant and drive it. Hope for the best.

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