Have you ever found yourself stranded on the side of the road, because your vehicle has stalled because of overheating? Don’t feel bad. While it happens more often during warmer weather, no one is completely immune. Let’s talk about why this problem occurs and how to prevent it in your vehicle in the future.
Causes of Overheating
While the most obvious problem would be the cooling system, as a leak or blockage in the system itself could cause your vehicle to overheat, there are other reasons to consider:
Engine coolant, a mix of antifreeze and water, circulates through your engine to cool the most critical parts. When your coolant is low, this doesn’t happen, and worse, if the metal parts get too hot, they could weld together. Same with motor oil. When the level of motor oil is too low, not only is the heat not moved out of the engine, but there is no lubrication to reduce friction and pick up contaminants.
The thermostat blocks the coolant from entering the engine. When the thermostat isn’t working correctly to release the coolant, it can cause the vehicle to stall in plumes of smoke.
Broken Water Pump
Coolant is circulated through the engine via the water pump. If the pump is broken, the coolant can’t move.
>Damaged RadiatorLocated in the vehicle's front, the radiator’s fins take the heat from the coolant and disperse it into the air. However, if the airflow is blocked, the fins are damaged or the radiator fan is inoperational, the heat is not released.
When Your Car Overheats
How do you know when your car is overheating? The temperature gauge’s needle will stay in the red area marked H, and you may see a temperature warning light on your dash. Also, there may be a weird smell and steam that looks like smoke coming from under the hood.
If you see any of these signs, you should:
Turn Up the Heat
Open your windows and blast the heat and blower to pull the heat away from the engine.
As soon as possible, pull over in a safe location and turn the vehicle off.
Wait at least 15 minutes for the engine to cool and check the coolant level. Do not skip the wait! Opening the hood too early could result in burns.
Once your coolant level and engine temperature go back to normal, you can safely drive again. Monitor the temperature gauge and schedule an appointment with Phil’s Pro Auto Service to get your vehicle checked out!