What Causes a Car to Overheat?

What Causes a Car to Overheat?

An overheating engine isn’t just an annoyance; it can stop your travel plans in a heartbeat. The movement of the various mechanical parts within an engine generates friction and heat. When everything is running sweetly, lubrication and cooling systems prevent this from building to dangerous levels. However, if something within the dynamics is off, then heat can build up to a level that causes engine damage or, in a worst-case scenario, destroy it completely. 

The following discusses some common reasons for an overheating vehicle and what to do if you see that temperature gauge creeping up into the red. 

Reasons for an Overheating Vehicle

  • Common car overheating problems
  • Signs of an overheating vehicle 

Common car overheating problems

By far the most common reason for a vehicle to overheat is a problem with the cooling system. In hot climes, such as Florida, the mercury regularly hits 90 degrees plus. This puts further strain on a car’s cooling system and can exacerbate any issue that might not be so apparent when the car is operating in lower temperatures.

Overheating problems can be caused by:

  • Low coolant levels
  • Leaks, blockages, or damage within the coolant system
  • Damaged or broken water pump
  • Too little oil
  • Problems with a radiator and/or the fans
  • Faulty thermostat
  • A blocked or clogged heater core

Signs of an overheating vehicle 

The most common sign of an overheating vehicle is a rising temperature gauge. As the heat increases, this will trigger a warning light on the dash (vintage vehicles may not have this). Eventually, steam will begin to billow from beneath the hood.

Reactive and Proactive Measures for an Overheating Vehicle 

  • Reactive: immediate action for an overheating vehicle
  • Proactive: how to prevent your car overheating 

Reactive: immediate action for an overheating vehicle 

If you notice any signs of an overheating vehicle, then you should pull over immediately—in a safe place, of course. Continuing to drive can and will cause damage to the engine.

  • Turn off the engine, pop the hood from the inside of the cabin, and vacate the vehicle
  • If you can, raise the hood. You may need gloves to do this as the metal may be extremely hot
  • DO NOT, under any circumstances, remove the radiator cap or any other caps from the engine. The system is pressurized. Any release of this pressure will cause a jet of boiling water and steam to spout out. This can cause extreme burns.
  • Leave the engine to cool. This is likely to take at least 30 minutes
  • Call for roadside assistance. Expert help is by far the safest way to deal with an overheating engine, rather than risk further damage to the engine or burns to yourself by trying to carry out a DIY fix by the side of the road.

Proactive: how to prevent your car overheating  

The above is certainly not a scenario any motorist wants to deal with. Inconvenience aside, the potential cost of repairs can, if the damage is severe, run into thousands of dollars.

The key to reducing the risk of overheating is regular maintenance as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This includes weekly oil and water checks, as well adhering to the service schedule. Additionally, ensure that you get the car checked out should you notice any irregularities in its performance. Getting a cooling issue investigated as soon as you notice a problem will prevent a far more costly repair later down the line. 

Car Overheating? Head to Autobahn of Boca Today 

Worried about engine overheating? We can get it sorted. Whether your engine seems to be running a little hotter than normal or your ride has suffered an overheating episode, there’s no one better placed to fix the problem than Autobahn of Boca.

Our marque-trained mechanics are simply the best specialists when it comes to high-end vehicles. Whether you drive a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, VW, or another luxury car, we’re the go-to provider for Florida vehicle drivers who demand the ultimate expertise and customer service. 

Discover more at https://www.autobahnofboca.com/services/engine-transmission-services

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