In most cases, cars overheat in scorching weather. Although it is rare with modern cars, even the well-tuned ones can overheat. It is the worst feeling you can have as a driver when steam spews from under the hood while warning belts chime and lights flash from the dashboard. Heat is engine’s enemy. An overheating engine can cause considerable damage that would require a complete overhaul or replacement if the problem is not attended in time.
Many conditions can cause overheating, some requiring minor repairs while others warrant for long hours of work and high part costs.
What is overheating?
An engine operates smoothly at a certain temperature. Overheating happens when the temperature of the engine climbs to a point where mechanical damage can occur. A continued temperature of more than 240 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to cause concern.
1. Low coolant
By a large percentage, the most common cause of engine overheating is low coolant level. The engine’s cooling system relies on coolants ability to circulate and remove heat from the engine. If you do not have sufficient coolant to do the job, heat builds up, and your engine starts to overheat. The first thing to do if your engine happens to be running hot is to check the coolant level.
2. Electric cooling fan failure
If your car has an electric cooling fan that is not up and running, it can cause the engine to overheat. An electric cooling fan is used to draw cooler air through the radiator when your car is not going fast enough to ram it through the front. You can test this by letting your car idle long enough for the engine to heat up. If you have had an engine overheating problem in traffic, keep a keen eye on your temperature gauge. It the reading starts creeping into the danger zone, look under the hood to see if the electric fan is running or not. A faulty electric fan or a damaged radiator fan switch may cause the cooling fan to fail.
3. Broken Fan Belt
There are still lots of engine out there which have fan belts to drive the cooling fan of the engine. If you can locate a belt attached to your fan, then your car falls under this category. Good news is that such repair is always cheaper than electric ones and you can replace the fan belt quickly when it is broken. A broken fan belt will make the fan not work appropriately and thus overheating of the engine.