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No A/C Power Steering and Battery Light is ON.

Question:serpentine belt I have a 2004 Lincoln Towncar and my AC went out there was a smell like burnt plastic,then a knocking noise started when i start my car.Today my steering wheel is very hard to turn and the battery light stays on the car struggles to stay on.

Answer: Most likely the serpentine belt has broken. Do not drive the car as
the water pump could be driven by that belt and overheating could occur. The belt typically runs the alternator, air conditioning compressor and power steering pump. As stated before, it could also drive the water pump, but most modern cars have the pump driven by the timing belt. Should be a $25-$45 belt and a fairly easy job to replace. Whoever does the work should check all pulleys and make sure nothing is seized. The burning rubber smell could have been from a seized idler pulley, tensioner or accessory pulley, which caused the belt to heat up and snap.

Posted: 24th July 2015  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Cooling, Electrical, Engine, Heat & AC

Car overheating and A/C not working at times.

Question: subaru shifterI notice that my car is low on coolant and at the same time my AC works at times. When i sit in traffic or sometime when i drive the gauge reaches almost to over heat and the A/C stops working, could that be because i am low of coolant?

Answer: The A/C and engine coolant systems are linked by the radiator and condensor which both sit in front of the engine and are cooled by a fan. If there is a problem with the fan, your engine will tend to overheat when in traffic (low speed) but temps should go down when at highway speeds. If the condensor does not receive adequate airflow the A/C system will not operate properly as well. Depending on your car, you may have a mechanical fan or electric. A mechanic should be able to diagnose.

As to the coolant issue, low coolant can cause overheating, but more than likely if you are reading the coolant level from the overflow tank, it’s due to the overheating (water expands as it’s heated) issue and excess water is being dumped when the engine overheats. Then when the engine cools off, the level drops in the overflow tank and it appears you are low on coolant. The above information is my “best guess” given the information you provided, and knowing you are having these two issues happening at the same time. With any engine overheat issue there are other basic things a mechanic will check like water pump seal leakage, radiator cap and restrictions in the radiator itself due to leaves and debris.

Posted: 1st June 2015  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Cooling, Heat & AC

How to diagnose overheating engine.


I have a Ford F-150 1995 model it has a 302 in it. My question is, it keeps overheating I change the water pump about 6 months ago, it has a new thermostat also, the water wasn’t circulating in the radiator so I flushed it 3 times took it out and made sure everything was washed out of it, so I put it back in and the water is moving through it just fine now, so I figured I had the problem fixed well I don’t its still running hot . Do you have any idea what else it could be that’s making it run hot? I’m baffled and out of ideas. Hope you can help thanks. – Kirk

Here are the steps I use when diagnosing an overheating issue…

1. Check the radiator cap with a tester. A bad radiator cap will keep pressure from building and can cause an engine to overheat.
2. Pressurize the cooling system and check for leaks.
3. Have the hoses been changed lately? A soft radiator hose can collapse and restrict flow of coolant to the engine.
4. If the radiator was plugged and required a flush, maybe the engine has a blockage as well. Was any radiator stop-leak product used in the past? They can cause issues with head gasket coolant passages and other tight areas.
5. I have had brand new water pumps fail shortly after install. It’s possible that at higher RPMs the impeller is spinning on the shaft, reducing coolant flow.
6. Check airflow, fan clutch or electric fan if equipped.

Overheating issues can be a real pain to diagnose. Many shops and owners just start replacing until they find the culprit.

Good Luck,


Posted: 28th October 2013  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Cooling, Engine

Air Pocket In Cooling System?


Does an air pocket in the coolant system cause a leak?

Three days ago I got a dealership to replace a cracked water pump on my 2007 chevy Impala. They replaced the pump but now there is a very small amount of coolant dripping every hour or so. I took it back to the dealership and told them the problem and they told me there was an air pocket and that I was to drive normally and it would take care of itself.



If the coolant is dripping from the overflow tank, I would not be concerned about it, but if its coming from the engine, specifically from the water pump, I would say they need to fix it. Keep watch, and check the coolant level on the overflow tank to see if it drops. If it continues to lose fluid over the weekend, I would take it back and insist on them fixing it.

Posted: 23rd July 2009  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Cooling

Car Overheating



My 1987 ford mercury monarch sustained a broken heater hose, was towed into the garage and repaired. The mechanic ran the engine at idle for over an hour and declared it repaired and fit to drive. I drove the car about three miles, the engine light came on, the car overheated. I was towed back to the garage coolant was added again, no leaks were seen, the coolant was circulating, the engine was run for an hour, hose temp were 170 degrees and the car was test driven. Again I left the garage and again after 3 miles the car over heated and had to be re-towed to the garage. Can you give any help or explanation? The mechanic can’t explain.

Thanks for you help.




It could be a few things… The waterpump could be bad, even if the water is circulating at idle. The impeller could be loose on the shaft, and at higher engine speeds will not spin, thus causing your overheating since no water is being circulated. It could also be the belt, clogged radiator or extremely lean running condition, but my bet is on the waterpump.

Good Luck,


Posted: 5th July 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Cooling

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