I have a 1998 Honda Civic with 131,000 miles on it. It has sporadically ran hot (about every 3 months) and I have taken it to a couple of different trustworthy mechanics who did the usual tests on it, but could find no leaks, no evidence of cross over into engine, etc. So, my attitude has been to keep a container of coolant in the car and check the coolant level once a month a monitor the situation. This has worked until 2 weeks ago. At the end of May, the mechanic checked it out and suggested to try a new radiator cap. Ok, I put a new radiator cap on it on June 1. On June 9, the car ran hot and I left it overnight. The next morning, I checked the coolant and put half a container in it which I usually have only had to add 4 to 6 oz in the past. The car only ran a few minutes before it started getting hot. Yesterday, a friend changed the thermostat and the radiator fan sensor but the car still ran hot after a few minutes. When we tried to run the heater, there was no hot air, and we noticed that the hose coming out of the radiator was hot but the hose coming from the thermostat is barely warm (so we think the coolant is NOT circulating).
I plan to take it to a very reputable auto service company (Volksdoktor) when I can arrange to have it towed.
My concern is that they will determine head gasket damage, which is expensive to repair but that doesn't solve the problem of what is causing the car to run hot?
I paid for a new timing belt, water pump, and tires on the car in 2014 planning to drive this civic for a long time...should I invest more money into this car to attempt to fix this problem or would this be foolish? Civics have a wonderful reputation for being long lasting reliable cars but I also read they are notorious for blown head gaskets which is bad news...
(I don't have the knowhow, equipment, or location to do this repair work myself so that is not an option.) I ride a bike to work but I do need a car because my elderly parents live a 45 minute drive from me via interstate.
So my decision needs to be whether I pay money into this car repair (what is the limit I should spend?) or try to sell it (how much for a "hot" car?) and attempt to find another good used car (how can I tell that another car won't have a similar problem? eek)...Anyone have similar experience and/or a solution?!