The engine is the heart of your car, working hard to get you wherever you need to go.
When an engine overheats, it indicates a significant issue has occurred in your vehicle. You should pull over immediately where it is safe to do so or risk causing significant damage to your engine.
Your engine overheating is more than just a temporary problem that will go away on its own. This is a glaring warning that something may be seriously wrong with your vehicle. Ignoring it can lead to dire consequences including permanent damage to your engine.
Causes of Engine Overheating
Low Engine Coolant Levels
The primary role of your car’s coolant is to absorb and dissipate the excess heat generated by the engine. When coolant levels drop, potentially due to a coolant leak, the engine’s temperature can rise rapidly since there’s not enough fluid to regulate it.
Please note: Do not remove the coolant cap while your car is overheating as this can result in serious burns if the liquid ejects under pressure.
If low coolant is the cause of your overheating engine, once your car has cooled, refill the coolant and monitor your gauges. If it continues to drop rapidly, you have a leak that will need repairing.
Problems with the radiator, which serves to cool the engine, are a common cause of engine overheating. The radiator acts as a heat exchanger for the coolant, and when it is clogged or leaks, the heat exchange process is compromised, causing the engine’s temperature to spike. This is a major issue that only a qualified mechanic will be able to diagnose and fix.
Malfunctioning Water Pump
The water pump in your car is designed to circulate coolant through the system. If this pump malfunctions or becomes defective, coolant circulation is hindered, creating hotspots within the engine that can lead to overheating. In this case, the pump may need to be replaced.
Cooling Fan Failures
The cooling fans in your car pull cold air across the radiator, reducing the coolant’s temperature. When they fail, there’s reduced airflow, making it harder for the radiator to reduce heat. This could be due to a faulty fuse or poor wiring. As these are electrical components, it is not recommended to try fixing this yourself.
Warning Signs That You Have an Overheating Engine
High Engine Temperature Gauge Readings
The temperature gauge on your dashboard spiking is usually the first warning of your engine overheating. In this case, you should safely stop your car and wait for the engine to cool down, then check the coolant levels. If there is plenty of coolant, you’ll need to get an expert involved to diagnose the problem.
Steam or Smoke from Under the Hood
Steam or smoke from under the hood of your car is the most obvious sign of engine overheating and should be addressed immediately. Steam suggests your coolant is boiling, while smoke might hint at burned components or fluid leaks.
Loss of Engine Power
If your engine becomes notably unresponsive or stalls, it’s possibly struggling with intense heat, especially under high-temperature conditions. Consult a mechanic if the issue persists.
How to Avoid Overheating Your Engine
Regular Coolant Checks
One of the easiest things you can do to prevent engine overheating is to maintain proper coolant levels. Regularly check for any leaks or depletions and refill with the recommended mixture to maintain optimum cooling efficiency.
Routine Radiator Inspections
The radiator’s cleanliness and integrity are vital to preventing engine overheating. Debris and leaks can reduce the efficiency of the radiator, so it is important to check it regularly.
Water Pump and Thermostat Replacements
Your car’s water pump and thermostat are pivotal to the cooling system. With time and wear, they can become less effective, so it is important to get them replaced every so often. A mechanic will know what signs to look out for and will be able to suggest replacements during your regular service.
Trust the Car Engine Experts at Great Lakes Auto Centre
Expert mechanics, like those at Great Lakes Auto Centre, have the training to spot, diagnose, and fix issues with your engine swiftly. With a regular service, your mechanic can detect potential problems early, saving you from costly repairs down the road. If your engine has already experienced issues, trained mechanics are able to check for symptoms of engine damage from overheating and suggest the appropriate repairs.
For exceptional service that will get your vehicle back on the road in no time, choose Great Lakes Auto Centre.