I have an automatic 97 Chevy Cavalier with a 2.2 that has 153,000 miles. When I first got this car about 6 months ago I put a thermostat in it, and flushed the coolant system. I haven’t had any problems with any leaks up until the other night. I was on my way home and I was breaking trail down the road. I was pushing a decent amount of snow.
My car typically runs fairly warm but I watched my temp gauge continue to raise. It got into the red and I pulled over shut it off and let it cool down for about a half an hour. I started my car and it fired up fine. I drove my car the rest of the way home and the temp gauge was a little higher than normal but not like it was about to overheat. The next morning I noticed a coolant leak in the driveway. Now when I have it running there is a loud squeaking noise. Possibly a pulley or a water pump…?
The engine sounds like its running alright, and it doesn’t seem to want to overheat when idling. Although it dose run a little warmer than usual while being driven. I’ve only driven it three times since this happened. My mechanic says he thinks I blew a head gasket. What do you think?
I would first have that squealing noise looked into. If the fan belt is slipping and not turning the water pump that will definitely cause over heating.
Secondly I would check to see if the radiator is low on water/antifreeze and if so you should get a cooling system pressure test to see where the leak is if not obvious.
If no leaks are found then I would check the radiator for a restriction. Rust and calcium build up at the bottom of the radiator will restrict the flow of antifreeze, which will cause overheating.
I don’t think you have a head gasket problem from what you have told me. Get another mechanic to start from scratch and look into this.