Like most people, you don’t think much about the car’s engine compartment. But if your car’s engine is overheating, you’re in for a rude awakening. Overheating can cause serious problems, including a reduction in fuel efficiency, an increase in emissions, and even a fire.
This article will discuss five things you need to know about overheating cars. We’ll also offer some tips on how to prevent or deal with vehicle overheating in the future. Are you ready to start taking these issues seriously?
Causes of Overheating
Summertime is the time of year when car overheating becomes a real danger. It can happen for various reasons, but the most common are the car’s age, condition, and fill level. To prevent overheating, regularly check tire pressure, jack up the car as high as possible, and refill the water tank if it gets low. Keep windows closed when the weather is hot outside to reduce heat buildup inside the vehicle. If you experience overheating symptoms in your car, take it to a mechanic immediately!
Here are some common causes of overheating cars:
A lack of coolant is one of the most common causes of car overheating. If the engine coolant level gets too low, it can cause the radiator to overheat and fail. To check your coolant temperature, use a water gauge or empty the thermostat housing and look for water in the cooling system hoses.
If you have an overheating radiator, it will likely show signs such as increased engine noise and visible steam coming from under the hood. To determine whether your radiator needs to be replaced, take it to a mechanic. If your radiator does need to be replaced, make sure to get the correct part and install it correctly.
Not using the recommended type or amount of coolant in your car can result in overheating. Overfilled water cooling systems put excessive pressure on cooling system hoses and can cause them to crack or leak. In addition, overfilling the gas tank with hot air can create an environment where heat will build up quickly and potentially lead to an engine fire.
A defective thermostat may also lead to engine overheating. A thermostat regulates the engine temperature by opening and closing the coolant water pumps on and off as needed. If the thermostat is faulty, it will not open or close properly, which can cause your car to overheat. You may test if your thermostat is causing overheating by replacing it with an OEM part and checking to see if the car operates normally now that the heat has been removed from the engine compartment.
If you are experiencing problems with your thermostat, it is vital to check all of the following:
- Ensure that the thermostat is properly installed – it should be placed near an air outlet and a coolant radiator.
- Check for faulty ventilation – dusty areas inside the house can block airflow, while leaves and other materials accumulate over time, creating a system obstruction. Cleaning the filters once every two weeks will help prevent this problem from happening in the first place.
- Verify that there isn’t any damage to the fan belt or coolant level sensors – these components can wear down over time, leading to overheating issues in the later stages of malfunctioning thermostats.
Damaged Water Pump
If the water pump is damaged, the cooling system pressure will be too high and overheating may occur. To diagnose whether or not the water pump is causing your car to overheat, you’ll need to remove it and test its function. If the water pump is faulty, replacement may be necessary.
Blocked hoses can leak coolant, which causes overheating of the engine. To prevent this from happening, regularly inspect hoses for signs of wear or tear and any objects that might have gotten between them and the engine block. If necessary, use a hose bib to clear any obstructions.
Faulty Fan Belt
A fan belt can become damaged over time, which will cause the engine to overheat. To check if this is the case, remove the fan and spin it around by hand. If there are visible signs of wear or tear on the belt itself, replace it as soon as possible to prevent overheating.
Head Gasket Issues
If the head gasket has failed, coolant will leak, which can cause overheating. To find out if this is the case, you’ll need to remove the engine and look inside. If there are signs of coolant leakage or water damage, your car may need a head gasket replacement to correct the overheating problem.
Signs Your Car is Overheating
Your car may be overheating if you notice any of the following signs:
- The temperature gauge reads high even when the car is parked in a cool area
- There is white smoke coming from under the hood or tailpipe
- The car will idle more than normal or stutter
- The car smells like coolant or burning oil
- There is coolant pouring out of the radiator fan (or any other nearby water pump)
- You hear a banging noise coming from the engine compartment
- Any overheating issues arise suddenly and without warning
What are some preventative measures?
Some of the best ways to prevent overheating in your car include:
- Regularly checking the coolant level and adding water as necessary
- Checking and replacing the head gasket as needed
- Avoiding excessive idling or driving in hot weather conditions
- Keeping your car well-maintained
What shouldn’t you do if your car overheats and is not starting?
DON’T crank the engine over unnecessarily, and don’t try to cool down the car with water or ice. These measures will only make the situation worse. Instead, remove any objects obstructing air flow and call for help.
If your car doesn’t start, DON’T try to jumpstart it. First, check the battery and cables for damage. If those are okay, you may need to replace the engine coolant or pump.
If your car overheats and has a fuel leak, DON’T attempt to start the engine until you have appropriately extinguished any possible fire with water or EA gas.
DON’T try to fix the issue yourself; if you think your engine is overheating or if you experience any other cooling system problems, seek professional help.
DON’T try to open the hood of your car before the vehicle has cooled down.
How to Reduce Engine Heat
Here are a few simple tips to help reduce engine heat:
Open all the windows
Driving with the windows open is a great way to reduce the amount of heat your car produces. The sun and wind will help disperse the heat more evenly, making it more comfortable for you to drive in hotter temperatures.
Turn off the air conditioner
Using the air conditioner can put additional strain on an overheating engine. If the temperature outside is hot and you’re driving in a car with air conditioning, try turning off the AC before hitting the road.
Use coolant instead of water to cool your engine
Water can only cool an overheating engine so much; if it doesn’t reach operating temperature quickly enough, water will boil and create steam which can damage equipment. Try using radiator cooling or antifreeze mixed with water instead to help keep your car cooler.
Call for assistance
If your car is overheating, disconnect the battery and open all windows and doors until it cools down. Keep an eye on the engine temperature – if it gets too high, turn off the engine immediately! If you still experience problems after following these steps, please call for assistance from a tow truck or mechanic.
Pull Over and Cut the Engine
If your car is overheating, the best thing to do is pull over and reduce engine heat. Do not try to drive it – this could make the situation worse. If you can’t stop or turn off the car, cut the engine and wait for it to cool down before restarting. Never run a car with an overheated engine – this could have serious consequences.
Overheating can cause a car engine to fail and can even be fatal. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? To have your car shut down due to overheating? If you follow these simple solutions and precautions, you can ensure that no such situation arises.
In an emergency, stop driving the car immediately and contact the local mechanic.