Why Is My Car Overheating How Do You Fix It
Your car is an important part of your life. It helps you get from one place to another, giving you a sense of independence as well as convenience. In order to be able to enjoy the benefits that come with owning a car, its essential for your vehicle to have all its systems working properly and efficiently so it can stay on the road.
But one thing that makes a person worried is when the engine starts heating, and there you start thinking why is my car overheating?
If your car starts overheating, this could be a sign that something isnt right and needs fixing immediately before things get worse. Car overheating is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. This is due to some problems or malfunction of the engine. Your cars temperature gauge needle rises up quickly, and its time to think of what causes this issue.
If you dont get this fixed quickly, it could lead to more damage or even causing your car to blow up. You want to avoid this at all costs! There are many reasons why your car might overheat and were going to go over the top 7 reasons why that happens and what to do when a car overheats, so you can fix it right away if it does happen. Lets begin!
Bad Water Pump Symptoms: Signs Of A Bad Water Pump
Throughout this article, its been mentioned that the cooling system relies on antifreeze coolant to run through the circuit of the system to properly cool the engine compartment. The water pump is the source of power behind this activity. Without the water pump, the coolant would have nothing to force it to flow through the tubes to the components that need to be cooled. The following are signs of a bad water pump:
What Happens When Your Car Overheats
It’s not an unfamiliar sight. You’ll see a car speeding down the road with what at first appears to be smoke coming out from under its body. Initially, you might wonder why the driver doesn’t grasp that his car is on fire. But it isn’t on fire, and that’s not smoke from a fire but vapor coming from its overheated cooling system. Most likely, there’s a leak in the cooling system somewhere, and that leak could quickly lead to an overheated engine. In turn, an overheated engine could lead to a massive expense.
In all types of cars, the engine is the costliest “system.” Overheating can leave it beyond repair in a matter of a few ill-timed seconds. Naturally, you might wonder: What happens when your car overheats? Before we get to the final answer on that, though, let’s examine why engines overheat in the first place.
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The Thermostat Is Faulty
Your vehicle’s cooling system is equipped with a thermostat that helps your engine warm up faster. When you start your car, the thermostat valve will be closed, and coolant won’t be able to get into the engine. Once the engine reaches operating temperature, the valve will open up and allow the coolant to do its job absorbing extra heat. If the thermostat is broken, the coolant flow will be impeded, and the engine may begin to overheat. If you’re sitting in traffic when the engine warms up, it may appear that the engine only begins to overheat then.
How Does A Faulty Compressor Affect My Car
Yes, a faulty compressor can result in overheating issues for your car engine. If the compressor in your car is seized by any chance, the belt will be unable to perform as it should.
The belt is a connector between the clutch and crankshaft, which moves the compressor when you activate the engine.
Therefore, the belt is a vital component for your car, and of course, you can drive your car without the belt. However, you will end up overheating problems.
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Turn The Floor Air Vents On
Most people get in the car and turn the dash board are vents on high to get the air flowing. But youre actually better off directing the air through the floor vents. Hot air rises, so switch to the bottom vents and put your blower on the maximum setting to push that air out. Then, once the car begins cooling, you can open the upper vents again.3
What To Do If Car Overheats With Ac On In Traffic
Surprisingly enough, I experienced this in my life. Being stuck in traffic is always stressful and irritating. Also, the car overheats with AC on in traffic. This is worse than anything, I guess. What do you think?
What To Do If Car Overheats With AC On In Traffic
Here is step by step guide for what should you do if car overheats with ac on in traffic:
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How Does It Work
There are many parts to a cooling system in an engine. There is a water pump, a thermostat, a heater core, a radiator, coolant hoses, and the engine itself. Heres how it works:
The water pump has an impeller that circulates the coolant. The impeller looks like a fan or windmill, and is turned by the serpentine belt, or timing belt or chain.
The coolant flows through the engines coolant jacket, which is a labyrinth of channels through the engine block. Heat is absorbed by the coolant and carried out of the engine and into the heater core.
The heater core is a small radiator inside your vehicle to warm up the interior. A valve controls how much hot coolant passes through the heater core to warm the air temperature inside. The coolant then passes through a hose toward the radiator.
The radiator is essentially a long tube that is bent into shorter coils. The air passing by the coils disperses the heat from the coolant inside, reducing the temperature of the coolant. After passing through the radiator, a hose carries the cooled fluid back to the water pump and the cycle starts over.
What To Do When Your Engine Overheats At Idle
As we mentioned earlier, if your car overheats at idle there is a good chance the heat will be intense once you start to drive. The only exception is when your radiator fan is broken.
Try to diagnose the cause of the overheating yourself. Some of these problems like low coolant level and a bad water pump can be easily diagnosed. If you cannot notice the symptoms. a physical inspection should let you know what is wrong with your engine.
Once identify the problem you can figure out what to do next. If you havent driven when the engine is overheating, the damage would be minimal. Many of the causes mentioned above can be easily solved without much help.
If you cannot find the reason why your engine is overheating on idle, you need to seek professional help. Search for the nearest repair shop. If its close by and if you think that you can make it, you can drive to the shop. But if it is far away, you should consider calling a tow truck.
If you didnt notice your engine overheating, and kept on driving, your engine could be severely damaged. If this were the case, you wont be able to do the repairs yourself. So, you need to seek professional help.
The exact cost of the repair mainly depends on the reason your car is overheating. Replacing or flushing the coolant will only cost around $100. On the other hand, if there is something wrong with the radiator, you could end up spending $1000 or more.
Why You Shouldnt Drive An Engine That Overheats
If your engine still contains coolant, and the overheating is caused by a faulty thermostat, the coolant will start to boil due to the surging temperatures. Coolant is mostly water. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
So as soon as the engine reaches this temperature, the water in the coolant will boil. The coolant system is pressurized. When water boils, the pressure builds up and the hoses could explode spraying boiling coolant all over the place.
Metals expand when heated. As the heat continues to increase, the size of the metal will increase. This will cause components to get stuck, warp or snap off. So engine damage is almost certain.
The worst possible thing that could happen is a blown head gasket. You cannot continue to drive your car after the engine blows. Salvaging an engine with a blown head gasket is not easy either. This is one of the worst things that you could encounter.
You should also understand not all the components in your engine are made of metal. The timing belt, hoses, wirings, and sensors are all made of other synthetic materials. These tend to melt under high temperatures.
Regular Maintenance Can Keep Engines Cool
There’s nothing good about an overheating problem. If your engine is running hot you should try to fix the problem as quickly as possible. A hot engine can do damage to itself, even if it isn’t fully overheating.
Regular maintenance can help with this issue. Beyond flushing your radiator, check your oil regularly to be sure you are providing adequate lubrication to your engine. Keep up with other maintenance as well because anything you can do to reduce heat buildup helps.
Remember, it’s important to keep an eye on your engine temperature. Many people mention that their engines are “running hot,” though they don’t seem too concerned. Fixing a cooling problem is usually fairly inexpensive, even if it involves a trip to the repair shop. On the other hand, engine damage due to a neglected cooling system and regular overheating can be expensive. You may even lead you to think about getting rid of the car altogether.
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What Are The Signs That My Car Engine Is Overheating
Its important to know the warning signals of an overheating automobile engine. But know that each car and scenarios are different. Its always better to get to know your cars mechanisms beforehand.
- Under the hood, steam is seen rising from the vehicles hood.
- The engine temperature indicator on the dashboard or driver console reads H or goes towards the red zone.
- Strange smells coming from the front of the car, especially towards the hood. Coolant leaks are normally sweet-smelling, but oil leaks are often smoky.
Why Does My Car Overheats In Traffic Not On Highway
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Did you notice that your car overheats while in stop & go traffic but runs normal temperature while youre on the highways? This signifies that something is wrong in the engine bay.
Mostly, this issue is caused due to a faulty fan. But why does my car overheats in traffic not on highway? Well, there basically 3 things that can cause this, including faulty radiator fan, coolant issues, and thermostat valve or drive belt issues. We will look at each of them in detail below.
Now, while a faulty fan could be the reason why your car heat overheats when idle and works fine while on speed, the actual reason behind the faulty fan will differ based on quite several factors.
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Is Flushing The Coolant Necessary
Yes, flushing the coolant will remove contaminants, particles, and other elements that could clog the cooling system. A coolant flush means draining the existing coolant and replacing your cooling system with a new coolant.
Coolant flushes increase the cooling ability and increase the performance of the system. This would also help remove any air pockets inside the cooling system.
Temporary Fixes For A Car That Overheats At Idle
When youre unable to determine the issue on your own, youll have to get it fixed prior to your engine getting damaged. In the meantime, if youre caught in traffic and have no exit, you might be able to reduce the temperature down for a short time.
In certain situations, the turning on of the air conditioner could force the electric fans to switch on.
This adds a load onto the engine however, making the fans turn on could compensate for the difference.
In other situations switching on the heater can actually aid. The reason for this is that the heaters core is a significant radiator that transfers heat to your car instead of out.
Therefore, when you switch on the heating, and youre removing the heat through the coolant. In some instances, it might suffice to prevent your engine from overheating enough to take it to a garage.
Here is a video to see what to do when you have a car overheating when idle problem
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Can The Lack Of Engine Oil Cause The Engine To Overheat
It certainly does. There are 2 ways of looking at this.
First, your engine oil acts as a lubricant. As the oil lubricates the surfaces of the engine, it drastically reduces the friction created between these components. As you already know, friction creates heat. So, the lack of engine oil will result in more friction, thus an overheating engine.
Your engine oil also acts as a coolant. It removes a certain amount of heat that is produced in the engine as it flows through the engine. It also reduces the conduction of heat between components of the engine. Therefore it plays a major role in maintaining the engine temperature.
Stop At A Safe Location And Turn Off Your Engine
If your engine temperature warning light is on or the temperature gauge needle is in the red zone, dont continue driving. Driving while your engine is overheating can result in bigger damage to your engine or even cause a fire. Instead, pull over at a safe location. If theres a workshop or parking lot nearby, you can park there instead of at the side of the road. Also, turn off your engine and all electrical components as they can cause further stress on the engine.
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Is It Safe To Drive A Car Thats Overheating
If your car engine is overheating then the best thing you can do is to safely pull over and either wait for help to arrive, or for your engine to cool down if youre confident of being able to fix the issue yourself.
Never continue driving an overheated car as this could cause lasting damage to your engine and could see you paying out more for repairs in the long-run.
Add Water And Get Your Car Checked
After your engine has cooled, you can top-up water in the radiator as a temporary fix. This may just be enough to get the engine running for a short while. If youre able to start your car after the engine has cooled down, take it to a nearby workshop immediately. Just be sure to drive slowly and keep an eye on the temperature gauge. If the temperature spikes again, pull over and let your engine cool down before continuing your drive. If youre unable to start your engine, do get a tow truck to tow your car to the workshop. By having your car checked at a workshop, you can properly identify the reason your engine is overheating and fix it before it develops into a bigger problem.
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Wait For Approximately 30 Minutes
Your car air conditioner should cool down within 30 minutes. When your car engine is cold, you need to check and search for any leakages in your car.
You can get a professional to check the car properly and find out why your car overheats so fast and why your car overheats when the AC is on because its really a serious situation in traffic.
How To Prevent Your Car From Overheating
Before you head out on your next summer road trip, follow these steps to prevent your car from overheating and spending your vacation at the repair shop.
- Check your coolant level and make sure its fresh.
- Check your drive belt to make sure there is no unusual wear and tear.
- Check your radiator. If your cars A/C condenser sits in in front of your radiator, a buildup of leaves, bugs or mud can block the airflow.
- Inspect your radiator cap. If the spring is too weak, it may not be able to maintain the pressure needed to prevent boiling over and overheating.
Finally, make sure to schedule a multi-point inspection on your car before heading out on any road trip or vacation. A trusted mechanic will know to check for maintenance issues that would need a quick fix to help make your drive as smooth as possible.
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Electric Cooling Fan Failure
If you have an electric cooling fan that isn’t coming on, this can cause your engine to overheat. This fan draws cooler air through your radiator when your car isn’t going fast enough to do the job naturally.
You can test this by letting your car idle long enough for the engine to heat up. If you have an overheating problem in traffic, keep an eye on your temperature gauge. When it starts creeping into the danger zone, look under the hood to see if your electric fan is running. If it’s not, you’ll need to figure out why. Typically, it comes down to one of two problems.
Bad Electric Fan: Sometimes your fan motor will just burn out and your fan won’t come on at all. To test this, find your radiator fan switch and disconnect the wiring harness. Get a jumper wire and insert it into both contacts, your fan should come on. Another way to test the fan is to turn on the air conditioning. The cooling fan is activated in mostbut not allcars when you turn the AC to either a medium or high speed.
Bad Radiator Fan Switch: There is a switch that tells your cooling fan to come on when your coolant reaches a certain temperature. The easiest way to test this switch is to disconnect the wiring harness and run a jumper wire across the harness contacts. If the fan comes on, you need to replace the switch.