Driving under the sweltering heat of the sun in the middle of the day is uncomfortable. If you’ve never been stuck in traffic in the middle of the day under the sweltering heat, then you are very lucky.
What then, could be the worst scenario to ever happen? Well, imagine this. You are stuck in traffic in the middle of a hot day and your indicator light blinks car overheating. Sounds familiar?
Car overheating can happen anytime. But what exactly is the reason why cars overheat and what can we do to prevent it from happening?
Car Overheating Causes
Cars have a part in the engine that helps it maintain and regulate its internal temperature.
The cooling system is in charge of absorbing and redirecting the heat your car produces because of fuel.
When your cooling system fails or malfunctions, this will lead to car overheating.
But there is more to your cooling system failing that you should know.
Here are common causes you should be aware of:
- Cooling System Leaks – Your cooling system works in a complete system. Leaks are the usual problem why your engine overheats. Leaks disrupt the cooling system and the engine’s function.
- Imbalances Coolant Concentration – The wrong coolant will do damage to your engine. Make sure that the coolant and distilled water ratio is correct. Coolant becomes corrosive the longer it stays, so schedule regular coolant flushing.
- Failing Radiator – A broken cooling system can mean that your radiator is not okay too. Check your radiator on a regular basis.
- Stuck Thermostat – When needed, coolant passes through the radiator. The thermostat makes sure that happens but if it gets stuck, this causes overheating.
- Hoses with Holes or Damages – Even if your coolant can go around the system, a leak does a lot of damage already. You lose coolant through holes in hoses which will exhaust it at one point and cause overheating.
- Worn Out Radiator Fan – The radiator’s fan regulates the cooling system’s temperature. This does not only overheat the radiator but the whole car engine.
- Worn Out Belts – It might seem like a minor detail in the water pump but the belt keeps the water pump moving. A loose or torn pump belt can’t help circulate coolant around the engine. This malfunction leads to the car overheating.
- Broken Water Pump – The coolant needs to get through the entire system so the engine can cool down. The water pump makes sure this happens but if it’s broken and eroded, it does more harm than help.
How To Fix An Overheating Car
The best way to fix an overheating car is to catch early symptoms before anything dire can happen.
Your car has a temperature gauge in the dashboard that you can check from time to time.
These indicators help you track not only the temperature but other aspects too.
If your indicators do not work anymore, it can take too long before you will notice anything. It can be steam coming out of your car’s hood or the worst scenario, your car stops altogether.
Once you see signs of overheating, there are things you can do to save your car from serious damages.
These are crucial remedies you can do before you can take your car for repairs.
- Your priority should be pulling over and turning your engine off. Look immediately for a spot where you can pull over. Once you have pulled over and stopped the car, open the hood.
This will help release the heat trapped in the engine. You can let this sit out for a couple of minutes while you wait for roadside help.
Make sure you watch for the hot steam that will come out from the hood, so don’t put your face near the hood as you open.
Remember that opening the radiator cap while the engine is hot is a bad idea. You don’t want to get burned from the coolant that will come out due to high pressure.
2. If you are stuck in traffic and there are no possible openings so you can pull over, remember to stay calm.
The first thing you can do once you suspect overheating is to turn off your AC and open the windows.
To further release heat, turn your heating up so you can redirect it away from the engine. It might be uncomfortable to do so, but this is better than getting serious damages to your car.
3. If you are in a stop and go traffic, be light with hitting the brakes. Dragging your brakes adds to heat buildup in the engine.
Wait for a longer distance before following the car in front of you to save you from too much braking. Any time you can get while stuck in traffic, shift your gear into Park or Neutral. Revving your engine while in these gears can help increase air circulation.
4. Consumer Reports, Inc. suggests checking your coolant tank.
Try to see if you have enough coolant concentration in there. When there is plenty left, it can mean that the overheating is a mechanical or electrical problem.
If it’s empty, there might be a leak somewhere in the system that would need repairs. If you have the right balance of water and coolant, you can add it to the tank once it has cooled down. If you have none, you can add water that can at least help you get to the nearest repair shop.
We can look at your car’s health the same way you should view your health: prevention is always better than cure.
Doing routine check-ups to your car can help you avoid the hassle of unexpected car overheating.
Regular coolant flushes and exchanges and needed radiator maintenance is key. Spotting and correcting any engine and radiator problems today will save you tomorrow!
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Here at NOLA Automotive Repairs, our priority will be you and your car’s best health.