1. Why do engine overheat ?
An overheated engine can be caused by anything that decreases the cooling system’s ability to absorb, transport and dissipate heat; therefore engines can overheat for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes.
Cooling System Leaks
This is the primary cause of engine overheating. Possible leak points include hoses, the radiator, water pump, thermostat housing, heater core, head gasket, freeze plugs, automatic transmission oil cooler, cylinder heads and block.
Wrong Coolant Concentration
Be sure to use the coolant recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. The wrong type of coolant and/or mixing the incorrect concentration of coolant and distilled water can also result in engine overheating.
A thermostat is a heat-sensitive valve that opens and closes in response to engine temperature. Heated engine coolant passes through to the radiator when the thermostat is in the open position. In the closed position, it prevents the flow of coolant to speed up the warming of a cold engine. When the thermostat gets stuck in the closed position, coolant stays in the engine and quickly becomes overheated, resulting in engine overheating.
Blocked Coolant Passageways
Rust, dirt and sediment can all block or greatly impede the flow of coolant through the cooling system. This can limit the system’s ability to control engine temperature, which may result in higher operating temperatures and engine overheating. A flush and fill is recommended to remove debris.
By passing through a series of tubes and fins, coolant temperature is reduced in the radiator. Leaks and clogging are some of the most common causes of radiator failure. Any disruption in the radiator’s function can lead to elevated engine temperature and overheating.
A hose that contains visual cracks or holes, or has burst will result in leaks and disrupt the flow of engine coolant.This can result in overheating.
Bad Radiator Fan
A fan blows air across the radiator fins to assist in reducing the temperature of the coolant. A fan that wobbles, spins freely when the engine is off, or has broken shrouds will not be able to reduce the temperature to proper level, thus possibly resulting in engine overheating.
Loose or Broken Belt
A belt is often the driving link that turns the water pump at the correct speed for proper coolant flow through the cooling system. If a belt is loose or broken, it cannot maintain the proper speed, thus resulting in poor coolant flow and ultimately, engine overheating.
Faulty Water Pump
Known as the ‘heart’ of the cooling system, the water pump is responsible for pressurizing and propelling engine coolant through the cooling system. Any malfunction of the water pump, including eroded impeller vanes, seepage or wobble in the pump shaft, can prevent adequate coolant flow and result in engine overheating.
2. What Not To Do When Your Engine Overheats
Your engine isn’t keeping its cool, but you can! Avoid swerving through traffic or slamming on your brakes when pulling off the road
Don’t keep driving
If your engine is overheting but still running, you’re not doing it any favors by staying on the road. Sure, maybe able to get to your destination before it gives out entirely, but you may cause significant and costly damage by pushing your engine too far
Don’t open the engine hood immediately
Once you’ve pulled over, wait for the engine to cool before popping the hood to check things out. Opening the hood immediately can put you at risk of burns or injuries from spewing steam or smoke. Patience is key. Wait until the engine temperature gauge settles before opening the hood.
Turn off the A/C and Turn on the heat
Immediately turn off the air conditioner to reduce stress on the engine. Then turn the dial to maximum heat. This can help pull heat away from the engine to keep it from overheating until you can pull over in a safe location. You may get a little hot yourself, but a few minutes of discomfort is a small price to pay compared to major engine repairs.
Check and add radiator coolant (If you have it)
If your coolant level is low, a quick top-off could help protect your engine and prevent overheating until you can get things fixed. However, this step won’t do much good if a coolant hose is clogged or the source of your trouble is a broken radiator fan or water pump. Consult your owner’s manual to find the location of your coolant reservoir tank and to learn how to add coolant to your vehicle
Restart the engine
If your car isn’t being towned, now’s the time to carefully restart your enigne and drive to to your nearest auto repair shop. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge as you drive. If it rises again, pull over and let the system cool.
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