Friday, 17 July 2020 14:51

Why Is My Car Overheating & How Do I Fix It? | Good Works Auto Repair

Why Is My Car Overheating & How Do I Fix It? | Good Works Auto Repair

Worrying about how to beat the heat in sunny Arizona should be your only concern this summer, not if your engine will overheat as well! When something goes wrong in your vehicle’s cooling system, all components of the engine are running at too high of a temperature. If this happens, parts of the engine can warp or melt, which could potentially result in costly repairs or a new engine all together.

Here is what is happening in your engine’s cooling system: the heat from your engine is absorbed by coolant, which the engine’s water pump pushes to the radiator. Here it is cooled and recirculated back into your vehicle’s engine. A little preventative maintenance can help ensure that the cooling system is working properly.

What to do if your car overheats

Most vehicles have warning lights and a pressure relief valve so if your engine starts to overheat, you should receive a warning before it damages the engine. If you do find yourself stuck on the side of the road with an overheated vehicle, however, here are a few tips to follow to keep you and your passengers safe:

  • Pull over.
  • Turn off your engine.
  • Call for help.

That’s all you need to do! However, if towing to an auto repair shop is not an option because of where you are, take some of these tips into consideration and see if you can remedy the situation yourself:

  • Wait until the engine completely cools – at least 30 minutes!
  • Check the coolant/antifreeze reservoir. (Typically, this is a translucent plastic tank next to the radiator). If it’s empty or low on fluid, and the engine has cooled, refill the tank with antifreeze).
  • Check hoses for leaks or blockage (if the coolant tank is completely empty or there a drip or puddle on the ground, there’s a leak).

Play it safe and take your car to a mechanic

  • Mechanics have special tools and machines that help pinpoint specific issues with your vehicle. The untrained eye will not be able to diagnose problems the way a mechanic will. If your car is overheating, here are a few of the most common reasons why:
  • Thermostat Failure: If your thermostat fails, there might not be enough coolant circulating in the engine, which can lead to overheating.
  • Blocked Airflow: Air is constantly forced through your vehicle’s radiator. The airflow is what removes heat from the coolant. A build-up of material on the front or back side of the radiator (i.e. leaves, bugs, road debris, etc.) can obstruct the flow of air.
  • Leaking Water Pump: As time passes, coolant gets dirty and deteriorates. Rust can also build up in the fluid. This build-up degrades the seals in the pump and can be a common source of pesky coolant leaks.

Follow these pro tips to keep your vehicle from overheating

  • Check the appearance of coolant at every oil change. Coolant is responsible for picking up dirt particles that decrease the effectiveness. If it looks cloudy or rusty, it needs to be replaced.
  • Regardless of the appearance of coolant, it should be replaced periodically as recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle.
  • Use the type of coolant that is specified by the manufacturer, meaning the chemical type, not just the brand. Each type of coolant contains a different blend of corrosion inhibitors. If you use the wrong one, you can damage your cooling system.
  • When in doubt, take your car to an auto repair professional!

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