It is one of those dreaded moments most people experience at least once in their lifetime. You’re driving, maybe even in traffic, and suddenly the lights on your dashboard start going off and you realize that all the fuss is over the temperature gauge as you see it indicating the “H” meaning your car is overheating. Even if you don’t know the severity of this moment, you should definitely know that trying to go further with an overheated engine will likely cost you thousands of dollars more in damage. I cannot stress this enough. If your car is overheating, stop as soon as possible.
What Causes an Engine to Overheat?
Because overheating is often the first sign of a lot of different issues, one of many problems could be the culprit of your engine overheating.
Leak in Cooling System
The cooling system is very complex with a lot of various compartments that can have problems and need to be replaced over time. You could have a leak in the hoses, radiator, water pump, thermostat, heater core, gasket, or plugs. If you have suspicions that any of these are leaking in your cooling system, it could be very costly to wait. Have your system checked for any leaks and to patch your system up as quickly as possible.
Coolant does not mix well with other types of coolant. If it’s been a while, or if you do not keep up with regular engine maintenance, you may want to have your coolant system flushed out entirely. Not only will this help avoid mixing disagreeing chemicals together, but it will also help get out old chemicals that might start to cause corrosion in your engine.
Your radiator’s main job is to cool your engine by pulling heat away, so if it is overheating, then it is likely you have a radiator problem. Even if it is not an issue with your radiator, it might just be a malfunction in the radiator fan.
What To Do If Your Car Is Overheating
When you notice your car is overheating, if you can, pull over immediately. If your engine is overheating, you will want to have it towed to the nearest shop. A lot of people ruin their engines every day because they think they can go just a little bit farther and be fine, but overheating requires immediate attention. In the process of pulling over, turn your air conditioning off and your defroster and heat on high. This is the fastest way to immediately pull heat away from your engine. While you will be uncomfortable, this move can possibly save you thousands of dollars in damage costs. If you cannot pull over immediately, put your car in the lowest possible gear and rev your engine enough to get your RPM’s between 2 and 3. This will force as much coolant to get flowing through your engine as possible in the meantime of finding a way to pull over.
Whatever the cause of your overheating engine, it is important to tend to your vehicles needs immediately. Ignoring your engine’s warning signs could cause you to go from having to fix a minor leak, belt, or fan problem, to having to replace an entire system. Do not put off tending to your engine, but in the case of an emergency, following these small steps could save you a big headache.