It is becoming more common for cars to overheat and then return back to normal. An overheating engine can lead to damage to internal parts of your engine. This can then result in the temperature gauge not showing you a correct reading. In this article, we provide you with 9 possible solutions to help you fix your problem.
How do I know if my Car is Overheating?
On your dashboard in front of your steering wheel, there should be a small gauge with an H (hot) at the top and a C (cold) at the bottom. This gauge displays your car engine temperature. Your operating temperature should be right in the middle of this gauge, but it moves up to the H, it is likely your car is overheating.
You need to check your coolant level. Your car will either have an overflow bottle, or a coolant tank, which you can check to read the coolant level. To do this, unscrew your coolant cap, which can be found under your car bonnet.
However, you must only do this when your car is cold, as if you do this when your car is hot, the liquid will squirt out all over you! If the cap is bone dry underneath, then you need to add more coolant to your car.
Check Radiator Fluid
When cold, unscrew the radiator cap and take a look inside. If it’s dry, then you need to pressure test the system to check for leaks in your radiator. You can do this by using a pressure leak testing kit. If you do not own one of these, you can purchase them second hand for roughly $30. Once you’ve hooked up the kit to the radiator, pump up the pressure for at least 1 minute. If the issue is your car’s radiator, you will begin to see fluid leaking out of your radiator, which means your radiator is full of holes.
However, sometimes the leak could be smaller and harder to find. So, if you cannot see any fluid leaking out after pumping pressure using the kit, keep an eye on the pressure gauge and see if it begins to drop. If this happens, this means there is a leak, and you will need to find where the leak is coming from.
If there are no leaks at all after completing these checks, the issue may be to do with your radiator cap. These caps are supposed to hold pressure in, but if they’re worn and rusty then you might just need to purchase a new one.
Start your car and turn the air conditioner up to full blast. Then open up the bonnet of your car and check to see if both of your left and right cooling fans are working. If the fans are not working, there will not be enough air extracted straight through the radiator which means it will over heat. Make sure to check your fan motors as they can often burn out.
To check this, get a small jumper wire, and stick one clip on the positive section on the car battery, and the other clip on the red cable that feeds the fan motor. If the fan doesn’t start spinning then you’ll know the motor has burned out.
If the problem still hasn’t been resolved, you may have a broken thermostat. Your thermostat closes so the engine can warm up, and when it gets hot they are meant to expand and open up. But sometimes your thermostat may stick, which means your engine can’t cool down.
You can typically find your thermostat by following the bottom radiator hose and at the end you’ll see the thermostat with a bolt at the top and bottom. Once you’ve removed and replaced it, your car should stop overheating.
This can usually be found near the middle and underneath your car. This can become clogged on the inside from carbon which means no air is coming out, and therefore the engine becomes overheated, and will lose power. Make sure to check this out and ensure there’s nothing blocking the pipe.
Inside of your Engine
Internally, your engine has small holes on the cylinder block. These holes can become blocked because of corrosion if you use water instead of coolant. The coolant is supposed to flow through the engine through these small holes, which is not possible if the holes are clogged.
A belt bummer could be the reason your car engine is overheating. The belt’s job is to rotate the pump which pushes cooling through your system. However, the engine belt could come out of alignment which means the pump cannot turn and distribute the coolant. To prevent this from happening, lubricate your belts and keep them tight.
If you’ve tried all of the solutions above and still have issues with your car, then it is likely you have one of two expensive problems.
Your radiator may be so old that it can’t dissipate heat anymore. Modern radiators are made of plastic and aluminium, and often corrode inside which means they are unable to dissipate heat anymore. Even though they don’t leak and look perfectly fine. Once you replace your car’s radiator (which can sadly be costly!), the problem should be resolved.
Bad Head Gasket
There’s a chance your car has a bad head gasket, and this means you have to tear the engine apart, which can cost well over $1000!
But before you tear an engine down, it’s a good idea to carry out a combustion leak test, to make the head gasket is leaking. You can do this by using a combustion leak tester kit. This is a simple test where blue liquid is poured into a tube, and then the engine is run to see if the blue liquid turns yellow. If it does, this means you have a head gasket leak.
Hopefully one of the many solutions in this article has helped you find the reason your car was overheating then going back to normal. If your car is still causing problems, then take your car to a professional mechanic who will be able to resolve the issue.