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Drivers are constantly faced with a variety of challenges as they work. Our text today is about how to avoid one of them.

There are many reasons why an engine can overheat. We won’t look at all of them, but we will describe the main possible causes of engine overheating and give you tips for fixing the problem of overheating. Most of these problems are fairly easy to fix, but some are difficult to diagnose, and you may need a shop to fix them. If you still haven’t found the cause of your engine overheating after these simple cooling system checks, it’s probably time to visit a repair shop.

1. The thermostat may be open or closed

The thermostat can result in the engine running too hot and in multiple ways. It could be stuck shut, open, only opened to a certain degree, or malfunctioning. Always inspect the thermostat if the engine is overheating as it can be the root of the problem.

2. Engine head gasket is leaking coolant

I always want to take extra precaution whenever I suspect there is something wrong with my car. I make it a point to take a look around for any warning signs that might suggest a cracked head, cylinder wall, or a head gasket leak. One of the tell-tale signs that could indicate such a potential issue is seeing tiny bubbles in the cooling system – which could be indicative of the compression and antifreeze mixing. Of course, the surefire way to find out for sure is to get a CO2 fluid test done. Alternatively, I can also take off the radiator cap and start the engine – if fluid happens to shoot out of the radiator, then that is a good indication that a compression leak is present. However, I have to remember to only take this step when the engine is still cold. Trying the same approach when the engine is hot can lead to some really dangerous situations, and this is when the expertise of a qualified mechanic is needed to accurately diagnose the problem – as a head gasket leak can be so small it may not even be visible to the naked eye.

3. Dirt, debris or paper is blocking the airflow of the radiator

As you approach the car from the front, open up the hood and carefully check the grille and the region between the grille and the radiator. Make sure the space is clear of any obstructions, such as cardboard, plastic bags, garbage, absorbent cotton, or wood fluff. If the grille or the front of the radiator is blocked, air won’t be able to enter the radiator, which won’t allow for adequate heat transfer. It’s important to also look between the condenser and the radiator, since that narrow space can become a breeding ground for debris. To efficiently clean out the radiator, you can use a self-service car wash hose, but be sure to keep it at a safe distance so you don’t accidentally damage the radiator fins with its strong pressure.

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4. The electric cooling fan does not work or the fuse is blown

When the temperature of the vehicle begins to rise, the electric cooling fan must run in order to keep the interior temperature regulated. It should also come on when the air conditioner is running and when the car is turned off but the engine is still hot. If the fan is not running as it should be, it is important to first check the fuse and see if it is functioning correctly. If the fuse is not the problem, then all the sensors should be examined before looking into the fan motor to find the source of the fault. Ultimately, if the electric cooling fan is not working, then there needs to be a thorough examination of the system.

5. Water pump impeller is leaking or not turning

It can be quite tricky to diagnose a bad water pump. Oftentimes, it is the impeller that is worn down or broken, which makes it difficult to spot the problem as it is an innermost failure that you cannot detect right away. If you are not able to locate the source of the overheating, you should consider taking a good look at water pump. They are prone to failing yet usually do not give out any visible signs of malfunctioning. More often than not, the defect is intimately embedded inside the pump, thus only by taking it out and inspecting it closely will you be able to spot the flaw.

6. Leaking Gaskets

Gasket leaks can often be easily detected, as you might find coolant or steam dripping from the affected area. However, sometimes it can be more difficult to identify, as sediment and dirt might temporarily plug a small leak temporarily, only for it to return at a later stage. If you want to make sure your gasket is in good condition, be sure to regularly check for current and previous leaks around the water pump gasket, head gasket, and thermostat housing gasket. The sooner you detect and repair the leaks, the less likely it is that you’ll end up with bursting pipes or other more serious damage.

7. Removing the thermostat is a bad idea

When the thermostat has been taken out of the equation, the sudden, unrestricted flow of coolant throughout the system can increase the likelihood for the engine to overheat. To ensure proper heat extraction, it is vital to regulate the rate of coolant flow, allowing for a more gradual and efficient removal of heat from the radiator. Do not neglect to set a new thermostat of the appropriate temperature, as its absence may lead to serious consequences.

8. Torn fan belt drastically reduces airflow 

Driving a belt-driven vehicle means that you’ve occasionally got to pay attention to the fan belt, as it can become worn and tear to the point of breaking. When this happens, the fan will cease to operate and won’t be able to force air through the radiator. This could slip by you if you’re driving at speed on the highway, as your car’s acceleration can be enough to move air through the radiator. However, if you come to a complete stop, that air can no longer flow and your car will quite quickly start to overheat.

9. Faulty radiator cap

A damaged radiator cap can have some unintended consequences when it comes to your car’s engine. When a cap isn’t working properly it can lead to overheating, and there are a few specific reasons why. Firstly, if the cap isn’t able to hold the pressure of the cooling system, it can allow the coolant to leak out, leading to overheating. Secondly, the pressure and boiling point of the radiator may not be regulated correctly, and finally, too much pressure can build up if the cap does not properly relieve it when the temperature reaches a given threshold causing the hose to rupture and radiators to leak.

10.Clogged radiator will lose cooling capacity

Radiators can be susceptible to blockages for a variety of causes; although aluminum radiators rarely block like copper radiators, they can still be impacted. Internally corroded copper-brass radiators can clog as well as solder discoloration can lead to obstructed tubes. Similarly, if too much stop leak is added to the cooling system or if components like grime or gasket material are introduced when working on the engine, your brass or aluminum radiator can become clogged. Any blocked element within the cooling system can be difficult to find in an inspection; if you experience any unfamiliar overheating and are unable to identify the issue, it may be beneficial to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a deeper evaluation, and you may even need to purchase a new radiator.