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Top Causes for an Overheated Car

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Image Courtesy of Flickr

An overheating car engine can be caused by one or more of the engine’s temperature regulating components malfunctioning. As soon as you notice your car’s engine overheating it is important to determine the cause of the high temperature fluctuations in order to avoid serious, and expensive, damage.

Radiator

Your car’s radiator works to disperse the heat drawn from the engine by the circulating coolant. The heated coolant moves through the radiator, where the heat is moved out and away from the engine. A malfunctioning radiator can cause a car to overheat. When the heat is not properly regulated by the radiator, the temperature in the working engine will slowly increase and cause the engine to overheat.

Coolant

In order for a car’s engine to have proper temperature regulation an appropriate level of engine coolant must be maintained. Coolant levels drop gradually as the fluid moves through the engine drawing heat into the radiator. Check your car’s coolant levels on a regular basis to avoid coolant fluid depletion and the risk of overheating your car.

Water Pump

The water pump in your car is a pressurized part that helps keep the engine coolant fluid moving through the engine and radiator. Over time, the water pump can wear out and lose its ability to pump the coolant effectively. Coolant that is not pumped through the engine will sit and draw heat without it being evacuated by the radiator.

Motor Oil

The motor oil you use in your engine lubricates the moving parts, reducing the amount of friction created when the engine is running. If you fail to keep an adequate amount of oil in your car, or allow the oil to get thick with age, the increase in friction will raise the internal temperature of the engine. A car can overheat when this hike in temperature is allowed to build up over time.

Thermostat

The engine thermostat in your car regulates the amount of coolant being pumped in an effort to keep the engine running at the appropriate temperature. This small engine component can malfunction and stick, which prevents it from opening and closing as your car’s engine reaches certain temperatures. This will cause an engine to overheat.

The causes for an overheating car are all easily diagnosed and fixed unless the problem is ignored. As soon as you notice an increase in your engine’s temperature, take steps to identify the underlying cause.