I have a 2005 chevy malibu ls v6 3.5. For the past week or so the check engine light has been on. I got it tested at auto zone and it was code po128, running at lower temperature than normal etc, check coolant level, engine coolant temperate sensor or coolant thermastat.
The car ran fine while the check engine light was on. it did not heat up more than usual, i had heat and a/c in the car and did not make any noises or anything. I checked the coolant and there was enough in there. I checked the consistency of the coolant and there are 3 balls floating and 2 not floating which my friend says is about right.
the check engine light stayed on. so today i went to auto zone and picked up a engine coolant temperature sensor. I went back home. I unplugged the plug from the sensor, then removed it. when i took the old sensor out, a lot of coolant came out from the whole that the sensor came out of. I turned the car on and the check engine light was still on. I actually used my dad's code reader to erase the code.
So i turned the car on and moved it out of the garage to my normal parking spot. this was around 4pm. I talked to my friend about hanging out tonight. so around 7pm I turned my car on and had a cigarette while waiting for it to heat up. when i finally got in the car i noticed that all i was getting was cold air and that the thermastat was continuing to rise above the halfway point where it usually sits.
I turned the car off and talked to my dad who knows more about cars then i do. we looked through our chilton book and the book says that in order to refill the cooling system, you have to do the following steps
1) have car running with full heat on until engine fan starts
2) turn car off and let cool down
3) add more coolant as needed.
So since it is 10 pm and it's freezing out in michigan, i am going to wait until tomorrow and repeatidly do steps 1 - 3 multiple times to see if that fixes it and i get heat back. if not im going to take it to a shop about 10 minutes away and have them look at it.
please tell me that i didnt do any serious damage to the engine or the head gasket or the coolant system or anything like that and my car should be fine again?
Any suggestions on how to fix this problem?