Toyota Repair Problems? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
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Start by spraying water on the radiator directly to get the temperature down and then we'll get working on why it overheated. Make sure you don't spray the engine with water.
Don't turn off the engine until you lower the temperature but if it goes out of control shut it off.
OK, after you have cooled the car down completely check the coolant level, BE VERY CAREFUL because everything will extremely cold, I suggest waiting for the vehicle to cool down for a few hours then attempt to remove the radiator cap very very carefully not to burn your hands and see if you have coolant, If there's no coolant in the radiator then fill it up and after the car has cooled down start the car and the coolant level might drop, leave the cap off of the radiator and start the vehicle, be careful when you do that, if the level drops in the radiator keep filling it up watching for obvious coolant leaks at the hoses and observing underneath the vehicle for leaks, if coolant gets thrown out of the radiator when you start the vehicle then you might have a head gasket leak into the coolant system.
I have a question for you before all this, How did the car overheat? Out of the blue? or while driving?or it only overheats while it's not moving? Any recent work on the vehicle?
Also check the oil level and condition, Does the oil color look normal? or is it a milky white color? Also when the car overheated did the temperature rise very quickly or slowly started to go up?
OK, I need you to locate the temperature switch, refer to the diagram below.
Locate the switch simply follow each radiator hose until you see a similar setup as in the picture, With the key in the on position disconnect the temp switch and see if the fans come on. Let me know what you find
The thermostat will cause the temperature to stay down not up.
Now try the following, When the car is cold start the car with the radiator cap open, and let it sit idling watching the temperature. When it gets to half check that the fan comes on and observe the coolant looking for baubles. Also turn the heat on and see if it's hot or not. When it gets to operating temperature CAREFULLY touch both sides of the radiator to see if they feel the same temperature also attempt to touch the hoses the upper one and the lower one for temperature difference.
OK the white smoke from the tailpipe indicates coolant being burnt and is a good indication of a leaking head gasket. The bubbles you see from the radiator are air being purged from the cooling system, when a big air pocket is in the system it traps coolant from flowing and your engine overheats. Now the reason you're getting air in the system might be due to a head gasket leaking combustion gases into the cooling system.
In order to verify this you might need to pressure test the cooling system and observe for leaks if non are found externally then there's a good chance that your head gasket is leaking and that requires the head to be taken out and the head gasket replaced.