If you’re stuck in traffic and the temperature gauge is a `BIG RED’, your car is overheating. While this is rare with modern vehicles, even a well-tuned car can overheat. Generally, overheating occurs when the cooling system prevents the absorption or release of heat. Although the car will not explode immediately, an overheating engine may cause serious damage to your vehicle. To avoid expensive repairs, you should pull over and deal with the issue.
What could be wrong with your car?
A leak in the cooling system
If there’s a leak in the water pump, radiator, thermostat housing or head gasket, your engine won’t cool off properly. Don’t attempt to seal the leak on your own – you should take the car to the mechanic.
Low level of oil
The engine oil prevents an excess buildup of heat and keeps the various parts lubricated. This, in turn, reduces friction and subsequent overheating. A low level of oil will make the engine overheat.
If the coolant to water ratio is off or you’ve put the wrong coolant in your vehicle, the engine will have problems staying cool. To combat this problem, you should flush the system and add the coolant as recommended by the manufacturer.
Broken water pump
The water pump propels the engine coolant into the cooling system. While any issue associated with the water pump may cause the engine to overheat, common problems include eroded impeller or shifting of the pump shaft.
If there’s a clog in the radiator and the heat can’t escape easily, then the temperature in the engine will rise. A mechanic will diagnose and correct the problem.
What do I do?
If your car engine overheats, you should turn off the air conditioner and run the AC. Next, turn the heat to HOT. While this may not be comfortable during the summer, it will cool the engine down. After that, park your car and put the engine in rev. This makes the fan and the water pump to work faster and pull more air into the radiator. Avoid opening the cap when the engine is still hot. You can also give us a call at Leahy’s Auto to have a professional handle it for you. Keep in mind that if you ignore this problem, it may cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.