If your engine is overheating, that’s the first sign of trouble. The overheating could kill the engine during a drive leaving you stranded on the side of the road. Even worse, when your car eventually gets to the repair shop, you could be in for a massive bill. It’s easy to detect when your car is running hot.
Imagine a scenario when you’re sitting in traffic waiting for the traffic light to go green. Meanwhile you’re busy praying that the traffic jam opens up a little for the car to get some air into the radiator allow the temperature indicator to go down. Such a scenario can be very stressful for any car owner and nobody should ever have to go through this. Here are a few things you should lookout for that might make your engine overheat.
1. Low Levels Of Coolant
In most cases, engines will overheat if there isn’t enough coolant. Remember, the cooling system in your engine relies on the coolant to circulate any heat or remove it completely. If there isn’t enough coolant, there will be a buildup of heat leading to overheating of the engine.
You might choose to run the heater for longer periods especially during the summer but this isn’t helpful if there isn’t enough coolant in the radiator to allow transfer of heat. Therefore, if you detect that your engine is running hot, the first thing to do is check the coolant level to make sure it’s enough.
2. Failure Of The Electric Cooling Fan
If the electric cooling fan doesn’t do its job, the engine will definitely overheat. The fan pulls in cool air through the radiator in situations when the car isn’t going too fast and rams it through the front part. Put this to test by allowing the engine to overheat by letting the car stay idle for some time. If your engine is constantly overheating when you’re in traffic, you should be on the lookout for the temperature gauge.
If the heat levels are rising and nearing the danger zone, pop up the hood and check to see whether the fan is still running or not. If it’s the latter, you need to figure out what’s the cause. In most cases, the fan might not be running because of two reasons. First, the fan could be defective causing the motor to burn out without the fan turning on.
To put this to the test, you should look for the switch to the radiator fan and disconnect the wiring. Next, get a jumper cable and insert it into both electrical contacts allowing the fan to turn on. You can also test it by turning on the air conditioning. Most cars usually activate the fan at varying speeds when the air conditioning is turned on.
Secondly, the switch to the radiator fan could be defective. The switch basically turns on the fan when the engine coolant reaches a specific temperature level. As mentioned above, you can test whether the switch is working by disconnecting the wiring and connecting using a jumper cable. If the fan comes on, you should immediately replace the defective switch.
3. Defective Thermostat
A defective thermostat can easily cause the engine to overheat at any moment, especially when you’re driving too fast. At lower speeds, it’s not easy to detect a defective thermostat because it’s not being overworked. At faster speeds, there is a lot of coolant flowing through to stop the engine from overheating. Therefore, if the thermostat is defective, it’s not easy for the coolant to get to the engine thereby causing it to overheat.
4. Broken Fan Belt
There are tons of car engines that use a fan belt to activate the cooling fan. If there is a belt attached to your engine, you should regularly check it to avoid any tough situations. It’s quite an advantage compared to engines that use the electric fan because broken fan belts can be repaired very easily.
5. Clogged Radiator
Cars with over 50,000 miles can easily have clogged radiators. To avoid this and other issues such as old coolant, you should clean out the radiator every year. Don’t forget to check the engine oil regularly to make sure that the engine is getting enough lubrication.
Now that you know the common causes of engine overheating, you can easily avoid them and make sure your car engine is in top shape!