We've all seen the driver stranded on the highway with their vehicle stalled and smoking. Many factors can cause your car to overheat. It may be a problem that requires extensive repairs, or it could be a quick fix; whatever the issue, you should make it a priority to get down to the problem as soon as possible.
If your car is currently overheating:
1. Pullover safely, park your vehicle and turn off the car.
2. Turn off your air conditioner and open your windows. If your car doesn't cool and continues to overheat, turn on your heater. The heater will redirect as much heat out of your engine that it can.
3. Exit your car when it's safe to do so and pop the hood to allow the engine to cool off.
4. If you are stuck in traffic and your vehicle's temperature is indicating that it's overheating, shift your car in neutral gear or park and rev the engine.
5. Reach out to a professional automotive specialist in your area.
If your vehicle is overheating, your engine could be begging for professional attention. Your car can overheat when the cooling system is no longer effectively absorbing, transporting, or dissipating the heat created from your engine burning fuel.
These are some of the most common reasons a vehicle's cooling system has begun to fail:
Leaks in the Cooling System
A common cause of engine overheating and the easiest fix for a car running hot is low engine coolant. Coolant leaks can be a simple fix if the fluid happens to get low; however, leaks can require more extensive repairs. Coolant Leaks can be internal or external, and if the fluid gets too low, proper cooling cannot occur. It's best to always use the correct type of coolant in your vehicle based on manufactures recommendation. The wrong coolant or mixture of coolant can cause your car to overheat.
Bad Radiator/Bad Radiator fan
Clogging or leaks can lead to your radiator failing, and any disruption in the radiator's function can lead to overheating. When antifreeze cannot flow through the radiator isn't able to pull the heat away from the rest of the cooling system; therefore, the car will overheat.
The radiator fan pulls air across the radiator to help reduce the coolant's temperature. If a clutch fan is worn or broken, it won't reduce the heat and lead to overheating.
The thermostat is an essential valve in the cooling system that ensures the coolant can pass through to the radiator. When the thermostat gets stuck in a closed position, coolant can no longer pass through. If the thermostat can not open, the engine will overheat. Additionally, irregular temperature fluctuations can also indicate an overheating problem.
Bad Water Pump
Your vehicle's water pump is the central aspect of temperature regulation as it helps circulate the engine coolant. If the refrigerant cannot flow, the car won't have enough pressure to propel coolant throughout the cooling system.
Low motor oil
The motor oil helps to control the temperature of your car's engine. Motor oil controls the temperature by minimizing friction. If your vehicle is low on oil, it results in engine overheating. The oil may be low if there are any leaks; it's always best to inspect the area around and underneath the vehicle for any oil. The oil lubricates internal engine components and ensures they move smoothly. A lack of lubrication causes friction, which will generate excessive heat, and potentially lead the engine to fail.
With any sign of your vehicle overheating, getting the car checked immediately is always a good idea. Consulting a professional sooner rather than later will ensure that simple repairs don't become big problems in the future. In most cases, the cause is a quick, low-cost repair. However, if you ignore the problem, you could end up paying much more for extensive damage. You might have minimal cost if you noticed your engine light turn on and immediately turned off your engine. However, the check engine light is ignored only to eventually see steam pour out of the engine or a puddle of coolant; I'd prepare your wallet. Ignoring engine overheating may put you out several hundred or thousands of dollars. Never hesitate to bring your vehicle to your trusted automotive experts for a reliable, professional opinion.