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2003 Elantra having overheating issues

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New User

May 12, 2015, 1:40 PM

Post #1 of 5 (856 views)
2003 Elantra having overheating issues Sign In

I'm looking for advice on whether to repair or not. My elderly mother has a 2003 Hyndai Elantra with 100k miles on it. We bought it from a shady car dealership (mistake we've had to learn a hard lesson from) last year. Since then, the radiator has burst (fixed radiator cap as well), then a few months later the upper radiator hose burst. Both times the mechanic checked for head gasket leaks and said he found nothing.

Today, the bypass hose burst open. It's $160 to fix, including coolant flush. At this point, she simply needs a car to get her to and from doctors and senior activities -- she is extremely low income and can't afford a new car. I'm struggling with what to do. Why would all of these things go wrong if not for a faulty engine? The mechanic says it could just be bad hoses because it's a 12 year old car ... is this possible? The car does not overheat until these things end up going bad. It does tend up heat up quickly, but it doesn't go above where it should be ever.

Any advice is much appreciated -- I know the smart answer is to junk the car and replace, but since she cannot do that, I'm at a loss as to if fixing this is a bad idea.

(This post was edited by ashleyashley on May 12, 2015, 1:55 PM)

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

May 12, 2015, 6:38 PM

Post #2 of 5 (818 views)
Re: 2003 Elantra having overheating issues Sign In

Yes, hoses have a life span and 10 years is about it. They may look good on the outside, but are not looking good inside. The bypass hose on those get hard as a rock with age and use. Radiators cracking and leaking is common. The expansion and contraction of the plastic side tanks eventually causes them to crack. Especially up near the upper rad hose connection.

I'm just surprised they didn't recommend to replace all the hoses when one blew out, especially on a Hyundai.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on May 12, 2015, 6:41 PM)

New User

May 12, 2015, 7:24 PM

Post #3 of 5 (810 views)
Re: 2003 Elantra having overheating issues Sign In

Thank you! I meant to add, the car has lost heating only once and today, before the hose burst, the car stalled during idle.

Are there any other tests that could prove a head gasket faulty? It seems like I have to get the hose fixed to rule out any additional problems at this point, but last time the combustion test showed no leaks.

Thanks again for any help!

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 13, 2015, 2:12 AM

Post #4 of 5 (800 views)
Re: 2003 Elantra having overheating issues Sign In

There are a few different ways to test for a head gasket but unfortunately, many of them are a bit unreliable and inconclusive. The one way I found to be very reliable and accurate is to use an exhaust analyzer to sniff the hydrocarbons at the filler cap with the engine at operating temp.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 13, 2015, 5:32 AM

Post #5 of 5 (791 views)
Re: 2003 Elantra having overheating issues Sign In

Tough call and as DS said why weren't all hoses done when first one blew out? That with radiator the cap probably couldn't release pressure first and possible oil from transmission weakened rubber hoses but should have all been noted.
Head gasket diag could be tough too as HT said.

I hear you, money short and perhaps you are paying for this up to needing the head gasket job, any other hoses or items not up to date.

Think of it like this: If you give up on it you know you'll get almost nothing for it so you are now faced with plain cost of transportation to fix this or get another something - right? You already know or should more about this car and think I'd fix this one rather than take on another and new unknown problems all over again,


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