Hi everyone. 198k miles, and barely any problems later, i'm having an overheating issue. It went from nothing to overheating in a matter of a drive to work. I changed the oil about a week ago, and while it was draining did my routine check over all the fluids. I noticed the coolant reservoir was half full, which i didn't think anything of. Saturday morning on the way home from work, i notice that it's taking some time for the car to heat up, but it finally did and no temp gauge issue. 70 mile drive daily, and i have a specific spot that i know i'm warm by in the winter lol.
So i make a mental note to check the coolant level since i'd had an issue with the heater not heating at idle before. I forgot to check it cuz frankly 19 days in a row of work i was a bit tired. Went to bed, woke up and watched football. Hopped in the car to head to work at about 10.30pm and again, i notice car taking a while to heat up and i'm kicking my own a** for not checking the coolant like i made an obviously terrible mental note of. I get half way to work and i smell coolant. Hmm... weird, glance at the temp gauge, doesn't look different. No more than 3 minutes later, glance back at the temp gauge and it's at the H!! WTF, i was crossing a bridge so i had to keep going, but i pulled over as soon as i could and shut it off.
I get out and open the hood. Lots of steam, coolant all over the engine. I'm trying to trace the direction it came from based on the splatter (CSI taught me something) and it's looking like the radiator. The whole top of the rad was wet but there was just splatter on everything else and around the seams of the plastic part of the rad had puddles of coolant. So i let it cool down and made a stupid choice to turn it around and try to make it a ways before possibly calling a tow truck. Started it, and got half way across the bridge before it was at H again. Stupid stupid me. Pulled over on the other side and called a tow truck. Got it home and today i checked around all the hoses and no cracks that i could feel, so again, thinking it's the rad. I'm hoping i didn't damage anything by overheating it again like an idiot.
So i'm thinking how i can make sure it's the rad. Should i fill it up with water and idle it to see where coolant comes from when it gets hot? I can order a rad wednesday if it is indeed that. I'm sure i won't know if i damaged the engine until i get the leak fixed and drive it some. I'll do a compression test too while i'm at it and see what i come up with.
Suggestions and scathing remarks about my stupidity welcome.