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Saturn SL1 Engine Overheating Washington DC

Car radiator problems can cause your engine to overheat.

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Saturn SL1 Engine Overheating

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Reader Question: I have a 1997 Saturn SL1. In 2004, I had bought it used and for replacing an alternator, it never had any problems.

In the last 3 months the following symptoms appeared:

1. The car overheats - by engaging the heater the heat dial would come down, however if I put ac on (which should bring down the heat gauge) it did not do that and the arrow stayed close to red zone.

2. Many times the fan would stay on even after I turned off the engine- for up to 5 minutes.

3. Had problem opening the oil cover and had to top off engine oil even though I had a complete oil change recently.

5 weeks ago had thermostat and antifreeze (red antifreeze as Saturn recommended). It did not resolve the heating problems at all.

Please advise.

Hey there,

It sounds as though your cooling fan is cycling on and off as it should when the engine temperature gets hot. It shuts off when the engine temperature decreases. Therefore, you probably do not have a cooling fan issue.

I would check inside the radiator and make sure the radiator is full to the top with antifreeze, do not just rely on the plastic overflow bottle on the side of the engine for proper antifreeze level.

If the radiator is low on fluid, you probably have a leak somewhere and need to get a cooling system pressure test on the cooling system to locate the leak.

If the radiator is full of fluid I would suspect you have a restriction inside the radiator itself which is limiting the flow of antifreeze throughout the system. Best thing to do is use a laser heat gun and check all cooling system components under the hood with the engine hot to find a restriction.

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