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There are nearly 50,000 miles on the clock.

A couple of days ago the heating stopped working and was only blowing out cold air but I thought nothing of it (previous car didn't have any for 2 years - no issues).

Yesterday on motorway the temp gauge was slightly raised, usually at around 80 degrees but was at 90 for this journey. Then it dropped to nothing (strange), about 15 minutes later the car starting making a clicky/ tappy noise I believe and the steam started coming from the bonnet.

Then emission control system warning light came on at this point (what does this mean?) and the car began to slow down. I pulled over into the lay-by and the engine turned itself off (as if it had stalled - all lights still on). I opened up the bonnet and let it cool, checked coolant level and it was empty. Steam stopped after a couple of minutes.

Highway assistance arrived after 15 minutes and gave me some coolant to top it up but soon realised that it was leaking out quickly further along the system. I'm not sure where from but looked like it was coming from a pipe on the left side of the engine - quite low down.

Turned the engine on (2 clicks) and the temp gauge appeared to have gone up to it's normal level. Tried to start engine but it wouldn't - sounded like it would when your battery is dead and needs a jump start.

I haven't looked at the oil, but I don't have my car with me as I am waiting for a family mechanic to have a look this afternoon. But any thoughts whilst i'm waiting for him to check it over?

Thank in advance, I will try to give more into if I can if needed!
 

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If you ran it for 15 minutes after the temp gauge had dropped - possibly due to lack of coolant to the sensor - then it could have warped the head causing coolant to enter the cylinders, in which case it may be hydraulically locked.

Try turning it by hand to see if it's locked, if it is then remove the spark plugs and see if you can turn it then.

Those engines won't tolerate being run too hot.
 
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