What Should I Do If My Engine Overheats
It's the worst feeling as a driver, seeing the hand on the temperature gage slowly (or not so slowly) creep up to let you know that your engine is overheating. Our instinct is to get to a safe place, so we take the first exit and drive a little ways to get to the nearest gas station or parking lot. However, that might not be a good idea. As soon as your car starts to overheat you should pull onto the side of the road as soon as you can to let the car cool down. The engine being overheated an melt certain components of your car, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.
There are several possible causes of overheating. They all stem from a lack of circulation but can be caused in different ways.
- Failed water pump- A water pump failure is one the most common causes of overheating. The water pump is the most active component of the cooling system and is responsible for maintaining coolant circulation. Over time, the bearing or impeller inside the water pump can wear or break, and the impeller will no longer turn. When this occurs it's normally a short time until the engine overheats.
- Blockage- A blockage in the cooling system is another possible cause. When the cooling system is blocked and the coolant can't circulate to the radiator to disperse heat, the engine overheats.
- Cooling system leaks- A leak in the cooling system doesn't directly cause the engine to overheat. The direct cause is air entering the cooling system. When a leak is present, cooling levels drop and air is sucked in and circulated. Air is lighter than coolant, and once it rises to the top of the cooling system it causes what is known as an air lock. An air lock is a large bubble that can't be pushed through the cooling system by the coolant flow. That means the coolant system effectively stops circulating and the coolant remaining inside the engine becomes superheated.
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