My 1993 Mercury Tracer Overheated – Do I Have a Blown Head Gasket?

Reader Questions Hello Austin,

Let me say first, I really enjoy your website and have learned valuable information from it in the past. Thank you. Now, I need some help.

My 1993 Mercury Tracer overheated. After allowing it to cool down, I started the car and went home. The following morning my car wouldn’t start. However, after trying to start it I could hear a bubbling noise under the hood. When I checked this, I found the noise coming from the radiator reservoir.

I called and explained this to my mechanic, who tells me the head gasket is blown. So, I accessed your site and found where ‘Melissa with the 1988 Ford Bronco II’ wrote to you. You suggested that she start her vehicle and let it run and to look for coolant shooting from the radiator neck.

I have tried this, but my car will not run, however coolant does shoot from the radiator neck when I try to start it. Does this mean the head gasket is blown???

Please help. I am 43 and female and have always done my own work, (simple things), and want to know if this could really be the problem or if it is something less involved.

Thank you so much in advance,


Hi there,

You are a 43 year old female who does her own repairs…..wowow…..I’m impressed.

You said this

“My 1993 Mercury Tracer overheated. After allowing it to cool down, I started the car and went home”

So it overheated, but you let it cool down, THEN it started and you drove home. So if it started THEN, and DID NOT overheat on your way home, why does it not start now?

When you say does not start, do you mean the engine turns over, but it sill not ignite and start…..right?

If you have the radiator cap off and water comes out the radiator neck when you turn the engine over… could very well have a head gasket or some internal engine damage that is causing the compression from the pistons that is supposed to be pushed out the exhaust to make its way back into the radiator.

I would do two things first. Do a compression test and a cooling system pressure test on the engine . You can rent both a cooling system pressure tester and a compression gauge at a local auto parts store.

If you are not 100% sure what you are doing here……it would be best to have it towed to the mechanic and let them do the tests for you. These tests will tell you if there is internal engine damage.

If there is, you might want to really think hard about putting money in this 13 year old vehicle. Once you repair the damage you still have to repair the issue with the overheating, or it will just over heat again. The repair costs for this job could be well over $1500, probably about as much as the car is really worth??? Personally I would not sink that kind of money into this vehicle.

Have you seen and driven the new 2006 Kia Rio? Very nice, inexpensive, very economical, roomy, fun to drive and best of all a super 100,000 mile factory warranty!

Take a look here

Kia Rio

Posted in: Over Heating

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