The internal combustion chamber of a vehicle can reach up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit easily. As a result, there are many different components and parts integrated within your vehicle to prevent it from overheating. When your vehicle starts to overheat, the needle of the temperature gauge will reach the ominous red zone or the temperature malfunction light will turn on. If you don't figure out why your vehicle is overheating and solve the problem, the heat will eventually damage the internal parts and mechanisms beyond repair. This article will take a look at three of the most common causes and solutions.
A Low Amount of Coolant
To remove heat produced from the internal combustion chamber, your vehicle's cooling system heavily relies on coolant to absorb heat and remove it from the overall system. As your vehicle runs, the coolant gets used up, and coolant levels will drop. If there is insufficient coolant within the system, the system will be incapable of efficiently removing heat produced. This causes your vehicle to overheat.
To check whether coolant levels are low, pop the hood and look at coolant levels in the overflow and fill tank using a dipstick. You'll have to look at coolant levels in the radiator of older vehicles. Make sure you do not open the radiator cap of an overheating vehicle. If the coolant level is low, wait until the car has cooled down and fill the tank with a mixture of 1 part coolant with 1 part water.
A Clogged Radiator
If the coolant levels are fine, but you notice that the coolant is not getting used up, then there's a good chance that the overheating is caused by a clogged radiator. This generally happens when the radiator fluid has not been changed for a long period of time, and contaminants have accumulated on the inner surface of the radiator to the point where they obstruct the overall flow.
To unclog the radiator, you'll have to clean it when it is parked and cooled with a heavy duty radiator flush. Pour this solution down the radiator fill tank and let it sit for a minute before you turn on your car to let it run for 15 minutes. During this time, the radiator flush will circulate the system. Next, you want to drain the petcock of the radiator fluid, and flush the radiator by connecting a garden hose to a water supply and running it to the radiator fill tank of the car. Clear water should start to drain out from the petcock. Let the water run for at least 15 minutes to make sure that all contaminants are flushed out of the radiator before you fill the car with new radiator fluid.
A Failure with the Electric Cooling Fan
To distribute coolant throughout the system, an electric cooling fan is needed to draw cool air from the radiator. To check whether the electric cooling fan has failed, keep your vehicle on idle and wait for it to start to overheat. Once it starts to overheat, pop open the hood to see whether the electric cooling fan is running.
If the electric cooling fan is not running, you will have to either replace the fan or the switch. Determining which to replace is easy. Turn on the air conditioning system of your vehicle. If the fan comes on once you turn on the air conditioning, this means that the problem lies with the switch, and it needs to be replaced.
There are many reasons why your car might e overheating. It's important to fully understand the different components of the cooling system to determine where the problem may lie. If you're having difficulties diagnosing the cause of the problem, bring your vehicle to a automotive repair specialist as soon as possible to prevent irreparable damages.