Your Automobile Is Overheating, Now What?


Sitting in a car that is overheating is a frustrating situation. You are at a red light, slowly watching the temperature gauge rise. You hope and pray that traffic moves long enough to get some cool air going over your radiator so that the temperature gauge will drop out of the danger zone. Failing to identify the cause of and fix an overheating engine is dangerous. It can ruin your engine and leave you with an expensive repair bill. The following are some of the more common culprits when your engine is overheating.
The primary reason why cars overheat is because the coolant level is too low. Your automobile uses its coolant system to remove heat from the engine. If there is not enough coolant to do the job, heat will accumulate in the engine.
The second reason why cars overheat is because their cooling fan is not working. The electric cooling fan pushes air over the radiator when your automobile is not moving fast enough for air to be forced through the grill. The best way to test whether or not your fan is the culprit is to let your automobile idle long enough for your engine to heat up. When the temperature gauge gets toward the danger zone, open up your hood and check whether or not your fan is running. If it’s not, you’ll need to work with an electrician to figure out why.
One reason why the electric fan may not be functioning is because the fan motor has burned out. You can test this by disconnecting the radiator fan switch and then using a jumper wire to connect directly to the fan. If it turns on, the motor is not a problem. If it does not happen, you will need to get the motor replaced. The second culprit is a bad radiator fan switch. This is the switch that connects to the radiator and tells your vehicle when the coolant temperature is hot enough that it requires the fan to be on.
Another common reason for your engine to overheat is because your thermostat is not opening. This would affect you more when driving at highway speeds than when driving through city streets. Also, a broken fan belt or a clogged radiator could be preventing the cooling system in your automobile from working properly.
Being stuck on the road with an automobile that is billowing steam is a frustrating situation. Many overheating issues can be prevented by doing the appropriate maintenance and by regularly having your automobile inspected by experienced ASE certified professionals.