The number one thing that you’ll never want to happen is for your car engine to overheat. There is a good reason why the engine is flowing with coolant and oil. These fluids work to keep the moving engine components cooled down and lubricated. Remember that several engine components in motion are rubbing together and creating friction. This friction generates excessive amounts of heat inside the engine. If there were no cooling agents for these components, the heat would get so intense that it would permanently damage the engine. Then you’d be forced to replace the entire engine, which costs thousands of dollars.
7 Common Causes
You may wonder how hot an engine must get before it is considered overheated. Well, most mechanics and auto experts will tell you that an engine with a temperature greater than 240°F is overheated. By this point, the “Check Engine” warning light should illuminate somewhere on your dashboard. Check your tachometer too because the needle will likely be facing the red zone to indicate the engine is overheated. As the temperatures continue to rise, steam will start coming out of the engine. You will see it come through the hood of your vehicle as you’re driving. This problem must be addressed before it is too late for your engine.
Below are the top 7 causes of a car engine that overheats.
1. Air Bubble
When there is less coolant fluid in the cooling system because of a leak or any other reason, there will be an increase in air building in there. This air buildup will cause an air bubble to form, which is sometimes called an airlock. You don’t want an air bubble in the cooling system because it will block the existing coolant and prevent it from flowing into the engine. Without adequate coolant flow, the engine will overheat.
2. Coolant Leak
A coolant leak is a major cause of an overheated engine. The hoses of the coolant system can easily get damaged and leak coolant fluid. If this happens, the coolant fluid will not be able to flow to the engine. The fluid will leak out of the hoses before it gets to the engine. Some coolant may make it there, but not enough to cool down the moving components completely. Your engine will gradually overheat as more coolant leaks out.
3. Faulty Thermostat
There is a thermostat built into every vehicle’s cooling system. The job of the thermostat is to manage the coolant flow into the engine. If it detects a cold engine, then it restricts the flow of coolant and stops any more of it from getting into the engine. On the other hand, if the thermostat finds the engine temperature to be hot, it will cause the chamber to open and allow coolant into the engine. Now the moving components creating this heat get cooled down.
4. Faulty Water Pump
The force which enables coolant circulation in the engine is created by the water pump. If you have a worn out or damaged water pump, then coolant cannot circulate in the engine. This will result in an overheated engine. You must replace the water pump quickly before the engine is damaged beyond repair.
5. Gel Formation in Coolant
Cold environments with freezing temperatures can cause trouble for your cooling system. When the coolant incurs these kinds of temperatures while your engine is off, it starts to form a gel-like substance. After you turn on your engine again, the existing coolant will try to flow back to the engine. The only problem is the gel formation ends up blocking the other coolant from entering the engine. Despite all the cold temperatures outside, the engine will still overheat in this situation.
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6. Low Level of Oil
Oil plays a key role in cooling your engine’s components. All the metal components rubbing against each other and creating friction will generate a lot of heat in the engine. The oil is responsible for lubricating these components so that the friction and heat generated is reduced. So, if there is a low supply of oil or simply old oil that has not been changed for over 6 months, then you need to place new fresh oil into the engine.
7. Radiator Blockage
When coolant passes through the hot components of an engine, it absorbs the heat from them. The coolant becomes hot and then flows into the radiator of the vehicle. The radiator absorbs this heat from the coolant to make the liquid cool again. This allows the coolant liquid to recirculate back into the engine and cool down the components all over again. Well, if the radiator were to have a buildup of deposits and debris, it will prevent the steady circulation of coolant to go in and out of the radiator. This means the engine won’t receive the coolant, resulting in an overheated engine.