Is your vehicle overheating?
Why is my car overheating?
One of the biggest causes of serious damage to your engine is overheating. Overheating can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Low or no oil in the engine
- Low or no coolant in the engine
- Damaged cylinder head gasket(s)
- Stuck closed engine thermostat
- Coolant that is mostly water and not much actual engine “coolant”
- Very dirty coolant
- The wrong oil in your engine
- Blocked cooling or oil passages inside your engine
If the temperature gauge or warning light comes on, you should stop driving as soon as it’s safe. Driving with the engine overheating can cause serious damage – even destroying the engine completely.
What to do?
#1 Check to make sure you have coolant in the system. DO NOT OPEN the radiator cap if the engine is hot or even warm. The pressure could cause the coolant to burst out of the radiator causing severe burns! Instead, visually inspect the coolant “reservoir”. It will be a plastic, often squarish “jug” or container, usually mounted in the engine bay on the fender well above on of the front tires. The reservoir will be marked with two lines: One line shows where the coolant level should be when the engine is hot, and the lower line will indicate where the coolant will be if the engine is cool. DO NOT open the reservoir unless you are absolutely sure it’s not pressurized. In many systems, the coolant reservoir is also under pressure. DO NOT open the coolant reservoir cap unless you’re sure it is not pressurized. There will likely be a warning on the reservoir cap, but do not attempt to open the reservoir cap unless you’re sure it’s safe. Instead, wait for the engine to cool down before opening the lid.
#2 Check the oil level on the engine oil “dipstick” to make sure the oil is at the proper level for your engine. If you’re unsure how to do this, stop by Accurate Auto to have it checked and we’ll show you how to do it.
Regular maintenance is the best way to avoid overheating problems.
- Change your oil at least every 5,000 miles (if using synthetic oil, which is our strong recommendation.
- Change your coolant based on condition during inspection, but a good practice is every