Reader Question: I have a 2001 Saturn SC1 Coupe. I have been burning oil and do not have an oil leak. Anyway, I was in a traffic jam the other day my car started over heating.
So I pulled over. Coolant was coming out of the locked cap. I let the car cool off, and then I drove it (I still have plenty of coolant, no leak).
As long as I am driving its fine, it is if I am stopped that it will start over heating. What do you think the problem is?
I have had a similar problem before with another car and it was the thermostat.
The first thing that comes to mind is your electric cooling fan out by the radiator is not working. Most overheating at idle or low speed complaints are because the radiator fan is not coming on.
Once you are underway and have air flowing across the radiator the engine will cool down. The electric fan should cycle on and off at idle when the engine reaches normal operating temperature. Pop the hood and let the engine run awhile and watch the fan.
Could be a bad fan motor or the motor is not getting power from a relay or other sensor.
Here is an article about the subject:
Reader Updates: Thank you. It was the fan motor. Do you think that is why I was burning oil?
I was unaware of an oil leak problem as well. No, the fan being bad is not related to your oil loss problem. This could be from an external oil leak somewhere on the engine, or it could be due to internal wear inside the engine causing the oil to be burned in the cylinders.
Start with cleaning the outside of the engine of any oil spills. Buy two cans of CRC BrakeKleen brake cleaner at your local auto parts store and spray the engine with that cleaner.
It is non-flammable and dries almost immediately. Once the engine is clean and dry, start it and let it run until you see where the leak is coming from. DO NOT spray water on the engine to clean it!