White Smoke under hood - how do I know if it damaged engine?

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  #1  
Old 10-18-16, 11:00 AM
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White Smoke under hood - how do I know if it damaged engine?

I have a 14 year old car, not many issues until today.

Was driving and noticed the engine gauge was more to the right to the hottest. Not at the hottest, but in between of middle and hottest.

After that a lot of white smoke coming out under the hood.

I was stuck in traffic so pulled over and got out of there thinking the car would catch on fire. Waited for about 30 min for the tow truck to come.

Tower was able to start the engine. He turned it off then went to the shop.

The mech found a leak in one of the hoses to the radiator. Says the radiator and hoses need to be replaced. Fine , but my question was how about the engine. Was it damaged?

He says since he was able to turn it on and i didnt drive it once it started smoking, it should be ok, but he will check. But they can only check after the repairs.

So for the car experts on this forum, does that sound legit? The repairs luckily are not that much. I was thinking $1000+ but it was not close to that. I don't mind doing the repairs for the hoses and radiator as long as the engine was not damaged.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-18-16, 11:14 AM
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If it didn't peg the needle on the temp gauge or run out of water, the odds are the engine is ok. Even when one is run hot or out of water the engine still might be ok.
 
  #3  
Old 10-18-16, 12:09 PM
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I agree. The white smoke was likely just steam from the broken hose. Its good you didn't drive further... that would have damaged something eventually. Hoses wear out and break so its not unusual after 14 yrs to replace hoses. I would do them all while they are at it.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 01:25 PM
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What make & model car is this ?
 
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Old 10-25-16, 05:18 PM
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14 year old car, things just wear out.

If you had a leak you just were seeing steam, not smoke, from the engine compartment.

If you pulled over when you noticed the gauge going up and did not over heat the engine which would cause a lot of issues then you might be ok.

Upon getting back on the road, check the oil to see if it's got water in it or has turned brown, an indication that the head warped.

If it seems to run ok they consider yourself lucky.
 
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Old 10-26-16, 06:04 PM
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What make & model car is this ?

Well, what is the answer to this question?

My random thoughts and experience tells me that if the engine is made of cast iron and has aluminum heads than you have probably done some damage. You could have warped one of the aluminum heads or blown a head gasket. Aluminum heads will expand and contract at a different rate than the cast iron block so sometimes a head gasket's seal can be damaged and the problem may not show up for several months. Chrysler had a particularly bad problem with head gaskets between cast iron blocks and aluminum heads on their 4 cylinder engines back in the '80s. You just cannot overheat and torture today's engines like the ones of 40 years ago.
 
  #7  
Old 10-31-16, 10:05 PM
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The smoke coming from under the hood could just simply been coolant spilling out on to the hot motor. If you didn't drive the car for long period of time during 'heating' or 'overheating' I wouldn't suspect any head damage or blown head gaskets or any other related damages.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 10:08 PM
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@CasualJoe that nesauery is not true, you can overheat today's engines as you could 40 years ago, if we are talking strength wise older blocks handled heat better then today's engines. The only thing about today's engines is simply the better warnings & chiming sounds that help us pay better attention to it.
 
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Old 11-01-16, 01:25 AM
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You just cannot overheat and torture today's engines like the ones of 40 years
a go.


Ahh, I think there is some truth to his statement.

We're splitting hairs but engines today are much, much lighter than thoes old hulking motors. Less mass means less ability to absorb/dissipate heat. A cooling failure on a modern car would likely cause more damage quicker.
 
  #10  
Old 11-01-16, 05:00 AM
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If it runs now drive it and watch gauges for any problems. All the rest is just guess work. If really worried take it to a mechanic and have it looked over good. As a retired mechanic I would drive and watch gauges. Answers about Aluminum over cast are good but who cares.
 
  #11  
Old 11-02-16, 09:16 AM
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HI All,

Sorry for the late response.

It's a VW Jetta 2002. No issues since this issue.

Mechanic replaced hoses and radiator. That was about when I posted this originally.

Had a problem into work today though. My engine temp gauge went a bit to the hot side. It was in the middle but went a notch to the right. I was going to pull over but after like 5 minutes it went back to the middle.

I got into work and I'll probably take it into the mechanic now. Trying to leave early to avoid heavy commute in case it craps out on me.

Probably time to buy a new car anyway. Feel like this is a ticking time bomb.
 
  #12  
Old 11-02-16, 01:12 PM
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There may be some air in the cooling system. OR you are just hyper sensitive about it now and what you saw is normal operation in between the times when your fan comes on.
 
  #13  
Old 11-02-16, 01:46 PM
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Mechanic tested the sensor and thermostat and said they were operating fine. He could not find any malfunctions. He thinks there may have been an 'air pocket' in the cooling system that delayed the thermostat reading.


I have been going to this mechanic for over 10 years and he's not charging me anything to look at the car today.

But does that explanation make any sense?
 
  #14  
Old 11-02-16, 02:37 PM
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Yes, it makes sense. Just keep an eye on it until you're no longer leery of it. A lot of times after something big happens a little hiccup gets more attention from us than it warrants.
 
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