You’re driving through town one day and you realize your car is acting odd. You look down at the dashboard and see that the temperature gauge is off the scale. You wonder why does my car overheat? An overheating car can be a headache but if you know how to react you can prevent a pricey repair bill.
Why cars over heat
1. Damaged Thermostat
Your car’s thermostat is a nifty device that regulates the flow of coolant/antifreeze and helps change the operating temperature. If your thermostat is broken it may be stuck closed. This will prevent the coolant from flowing and your car’s engine may overheat
2. Lack of coolant
Why does my car overheat? Coolant is an important part of every engine. Without it the components would not be able to operate properly. With the coolant there would be no place for the built up heat to go. Therefore you’d be heating things up to the breaking point, or melting point in this case.
Your coolant should be filled to the manufacturer’s specifications. If you aren’t able to see any coolant you may be able to top it off with some 50/50 antifreeze/coolant. Make sure you grab the right type though because different cars take different coolant.
3. Blocked Radiator
The radiator helps cool down the coolant flowing throughout your engine. As you drive forward air passes by the fins or small airways in the radiator. As the coolant flows through the radiator the rushing air lowers the coolant temperature. If you radiator is broken or blocked it won’t be able to lower the temperature of the coolant. With the hot coolant constantly circulating your engine will have no place to disperse it’s heat.
4. Radiator Fan
Why does my car overheat? While you are driving the air flows through the radiator and cools down the coolant. But if you’re sitting still on a calm day there is no air to flow through the fins. This is where the radiator fan comes in. Just like it sounds the radiator blows, or in the case, sucks cool air through the radiator. With the flow of cool air your engine can maintain it’s optimal operating temperature.
5. Bad Water Pump
The water pump – pumps water(coolant). Go figure. But really, it pushes the coolant throughout the system. With the flowing coolant it has the ability to pass through the radiator and lower it’s temperature. If the water pump isn’t working correctly then the coolant won’t circulate and can cause your engine to overheat.
6. Clogged Radiator Hose
The cooling system is a big part of any vehicle. There has to be a route to push fluid throughout the system. This is done using coolant hoses. Over time hoses can crack which causes your coolant to drain out. Without coolant.. you guessed it, your car can overheat. Coolant also decays over time. It is possible for the coolant to gunk up clogging some of the hoses. This is one reason why it’s important to change out your coolant every so often. If your system is clogged you’re better off just replacing the hoses and cleaning out the system.
What to do if your car overheats?
1. Turn on the heat full blast.
When your car is running the A/C it’s creating more strain on the engine. With this extra load more heat is being produced. By turning on the heat full blast you are giving the heat a place of escape.
2. Pull over
Letting the car rest for a while will allow the temperature to lower. With the engine off it will naturally cool down. After the car is cool you can assess the situation.
3. Check coolant
As stated before no coolant is a no-no. After the car has cooled down you should be able to open the coolant reservoir and check the level. Be sure the that system is completely cool. As the system heats up it creates a high amount of pressure from the searing hot liquid. If you open the reservoir up too soon you can get burned.
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4. Get your car to a shop
If your car has overheated your best course of action is calling a tow truck. Have them tow the car over to a preferred shop. There they can give you a diagnosis of the issues and quote you a repair price. If your car is overheated you should not drive it. If you choose to do so you can seriously damage your engine.
Have you had to deal with your engine overheating? Leave us a note in the comments below!