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Please if anyone has any ideas on this, I would love to hear them. Here's the story:
2002 Civic with ~139000 miles
The very first thing I noticed was when I was at a light, it would start to shake like it was about to die but it never did. It did that a total of about 4 times maybe over the course of a few weeks. Then it had a hard time starting, but completely randomly. Most of the time it would start fine but just about 4 or 5 times it did that, also over the course of a few weeks. Then one day, it wouldn't start at all, it took 3 times to start. Oh also, whenever it had a hard time starting, I would hurry and reverse to get out of the driveway so I could get it in drive because it was fine while driving. So the day it took 3 times to start I took it to auto zone and they tested the starter, battery, and alternator and they were all fine. Just a few days after that it had another day where it had a real hard time starting. I knew I needed an oil change so I thought I would go ahead and take it to Jiffy Lube. I dropped it off and walked to class. After class I picked it up, they didn't say anything, and seemed fine. It started right up and before I even got out of the driveway from Jiffy Lube, I noticed the temperature gage going up. IT had NEVER done that before. Yes I look at that ad would have noticed if it had. I had to drive to my next class and didn't think to turn right back around and ask them. So over the next few days, it would slowly start to overheat, and go back down, lots of fluctuating, up and down, down and up. I didn't drive on it if it got too hot. I pulled over. I took it to a friend's mechanic. He said there was foam in the radiator and he had never seen that before. He said it looked soapy. He didn't know what that was and flushed it out, and recommend I do a few more flushes. He then replaced the temperature sensor and I went and picked it up. The next day it drove fine...for about half the day. Then it started overheating again. But this time, worse. It would go up faster. I took it back to the mechanic but he went out of town or something and had to take it somewhere else. The new place I took it, an actual shop, said the head gasket was blown, from the car overheating. But they said they didn't know exactly why it overheated in the first place. They were way too expensive so I got it taken somewhere else and it's being worked on now. I am afraid that the head gasket will get replaced but we still won't know what caused it to overheat in the first place, and that it could happen again. I really felt like Jiffy Lube had done something because that didn't start until I took it to them. The soapy stuff in the radiator,did they accidentally pour windshield wiper fluid in there?, or did they use the wrong oil? I did already talk to them and they basically said they did exactly what they were supposed to do. If anyone has any ideas for the cause of it overheating and the issue I had with it starting and the idle. Thank you...
There doesn't need to be a specific reason for a head gasket to go, it just goes, it's essentially a wear item like everything else on the car. The symptoms began BEFORE you went to Jiffy Lube, the bubbles in the radiator sound to me as if the coolant was boiling, which would be a direct result of a blown head gasket.
One more thing..
The new shop you brought the car too, that's less expensive, why are they less expensive?
It's not what you'd like to hear, but a head gasket replacement done well should be $1200-1500. It's easy for a shop to not replace the timing belt, water pump, have the head inspected by a machine shop and milled back into spec if the aluminium warped as a result of excess heat (likely), reuse the head studs and give you a quote much lower than it should be just to get your business and make the money on their end. The result won't be a lasting repair however, which I'm sure is what you'd like, because paying twice won't be of any benefit.