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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: Volvo
Satisfied Customers: 31930
Experience:  20+ yrs. experience as repair shop manager and technician.
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Volvo S40: if the radiator is bad and the car wont start,

This answer was rated:

if the radiator is bad and the car won't start, how can you tell if the engine is bad too?

does the engine turn over, but just not crank and run?

has the vehicle been driven with the engine running hot?

before the engine quit running, was there any smoke out the tailpipe, or any knocking noise from the engine?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The car overheated and quit, was towed to a mechanic. They replaced the radiator, thermostat, resovoir and some pan. ($1500) Then they said it had a warped headhead, and they fixed that (1060.-split 50/50 because they were being nice). Now they say it needs new engine--


I asked before the radiator was put in if the engine was bad. They said that you can't tell u8ntil they replace the radiator and get the car running. Drove it 10 minutes after the radiator, and 1/2 day after the head and it quit both times. They have had it 3.5 weeks since the last time it quit running after the head was fixed.


I wouldn't have replaced the radiator if the engine was bad to begin with or are they doing it wrong sand they ruined the engine?


Unless the engine seized up and doesnt even turn over, or unless the engine has a loud, deep knocking noise, or there is little to no compression in the engine, a mechanic wont know if the engine is good or not until it is torn down and the internal parts inspected.

With the engine overheating to the point that the cylinder head is warped, it is possible for internal engine damage such as a cracked block, spun main or rod bearings, thrown rod, or broken crankshaft.

They are correct that you cannot tell about other damage until the radiator is replaced as there is no way to know if the engine is still going to overheat from a blown headgasket or warped head unless the cooling system holds coolant and pressure.

Because you dont mention any knocking noise that I asked about, I assume no engine knock when it was running between the repairs. That is a good sign. It is also a good sign that the engine was running.

I suspect that there is another issue with the engine, possibly a crank or cam sensor, overheating fuel pump or other issue which is causing it to run for awhile and then stop running. at this point, you need to have another shop inspect and test it as I do not believe that the engine is bad
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