Why is My Engine Overheating?

June 26th, 2017 by

Car Overheating Side of RoadIf your vehicle’s engine is overheating, you’re going to see some major warning signs, like steam coming out of the hood, your temperature gauge in the red zone, and a trouble light on your dash. You need to pull over somewhere safe and get help, but it’s important to know why this is happening.

Too Hot to Handle

An engine becomes overheated when the temperature becomes too hot for it to run efficiently and reaches a point of around 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Vehicles contain built-in cooling systems that circulate antifreeze to through the engine and the radiator, but when something goes wrong and there’s a lack of circulation, the engine starts to overheat.

Common Causes

  • Broken water pump – The water pump is a vital component of the cooling system, and sometimes, due to wear and tear, the impeller inside stops turning. It’s very common for a broken water pump to be the culprit when an engine overheats.
  • Blockage – If the antifreeze, or coolant, can’t reach the engine or circulate to the radiator due to a blockage, the engine overheats. A foreign object inside the cooling system, something blocking the radiator, or a thermostat that’s not opening at the right times are examples of blockages.
  • Leaks in the cooling system – If there’s a leak in the cooling system, it causes air to enter the system and create an airlock that blocks the flow of the coolant throughout the system. Air stops circulating, the remaining coolant becomes incredibly hot, and the engine overheats.
  • Cold weather impacting the coolant – If temperatures outside drop below freezing, it can cause the coolant to change into a gel-like consistency, which causes a blockage. It seems kind of funny that an engine can overheat in cold weather, but if gelled antifreeze stops the air from circulating, it’s going to happen.

Protect Your Vehicle

Stay up-to-date on the crucial maintenance that can help prevent your car from overheating. Get your oil changed regularly, and be sure to flush your cooling system at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. If you see an engine warning light or suspect your car has overheated, schedule service at Bill Kay Ford immediately. We have all the latest equipment for diagnosing and repairing your vehicle. We’re always here for you, so contact us anytime.

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