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5 Reasons Why Your Car is Overheating

5 Reasons Why Your Car is Overheating


No one wants to see a dreaded warning light flashing or the temperature gauge rising off the charts, but when you’re on the road and the alarm bells are ringing (literally and metaphorically) what do you do? The first thing you’ll want to do is turn your heat and fan on high and roll down your windows to help dissipate heat through the car’s heater core. Next, quickly find a safe place to pull over and shut the vehicle off right away. In these instances when your car is overheating, it is not recommended to open your hood immediately, in case of burst or broken equipment that could expose you to hot engine coolant and cause injury. Once you’re pulled off safely, you’ll want to call your trusted automotive repair shop, Honest Wrenches. 


So what could have caused this overheating? There are many reasons, 5 of which we’ll dive into today to help you understand what’s happening with your vehicle. 


  1. Low or no coolant due to a leak in the system

Without the proper levels of coolant or antifreeze, a coolant system fails. If 

these levels fall lower than the manufacturer’s recommendation, it’s important to 

top them off with new coolant to keep your system running smoothly. If you’re 

adding to an empty reservoir only use a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. If you 

don’t know where the coolant reservoir tank is, you’ll be able to find it in your 

vehicle owner’s manual.


  1. Failed water pump

    Your water pump circulates coolant throughout the engine.  When coolant is dirty 

or has too much buildup, it can stop the coolant from moving through the pump 

and lead to overheating.


  1. Leaky radiator

Radiators and their fans decrease coolant temperatures to help reduce heat in 

the engine. Fan issues can reduce the capability of the radiator to do their job, 

causing unnatural temperature increases.         


  1. Bad heater core

        If the engine’s heat exchanger unit is clogged or blocked, your coolant may not 

be able to flow through the system, overheating the vehicle’s engine.


  1. Blown radiator hoses

        These hoses are a vital part of your vehicle, acting like the veins within your 

cooling system, sending coolant where it needs to go to prevent overheating. If these hoses are old, displaced, or leaky, the coolant won’t be able to flow freely and can lead to overheating. 


Before your check engine light comes on and your temperature gauge rises, some routine and preventative maintenance may be able to keep you off of the side of the road. Normal vehicle inspections and preventative maintenance are key to significantly reducing your chances of breaking down due to your car overheating. Changing the coolant in your car every 2 years (or 30,000 miles) and inspecting your belts and hoses regularly are two simple tips to keep you on the road.  


For five more causes for overheating and what our technicians will do to help you in the shop, check back next Wednesday!

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