An overheating engine is a sure-fire sign that your vehicle needs immediate auto repairs. Not only is the situation stressful, but it's also inconvenient as it typically occurs at the most inopportune times, like sitting in rush hour. Yet, if you understand the issue and why it occurs, you can reduce the risk of it happening. Here's a closer look at the ins and outs of overheating engines.
A Guide to Engine Overheating
What Causes It?
The engine relies on the cooling system to stay within the correct temperature range. These components include a liquid coolant, which removes heat from the engine and then cooled by air pulled through the radiator. From there, the coolant is pumped back through the engine to remove heat again. Any leaks, pump malfunctions, blocked airflow, or radiator fan failures significantly impacts this process.
Another potential issue is the thermostat. The gauge controls the cooling system, so if it sticks or quits working altogether, overheating occurs. Additionally, motor oil assists with the cooling process by removing heat, so low levels may also cause temperature increases.
How to Prevent It
To avoid overheating, it's vital to keep the system's part working optimally. Such a feat is only achieved by sticking to your vehicle's auto maintenance schedule. These should include regular oil changes, engine tuneups, and coolant flushes every 40,000 miles. You also need to check your coolant and oil levels at least once per week to identify a potential issue before it grows.
What to Do When It Happens
If you notice your temperature gauge rising or steam coming from under the hood, pull over as soon as possible and turn off the vehicle. Once the engine has cooled off — at least 30 minutes, check the coolant level and fill it up if necessary. This step may help you get to safely to a mechanic for an auto repair. However, if the fluid levels are fine, call a tow truck.
When the problem occurs and you can't pull over immediately, turn off your AC and turn on the heat to help pull the heat from the engine. If you're stuck in non-moving traffic, put the vehicle in park or neutral, and then rev the engine slightly. This step can help increase air circulation around the engine.
Are you experiencing engine trouble that requires auto repair? Find and rectify the root cause at Gill's Automotive in Foley, AL. For over a decade, the locally owned and operated auto shop has proudly served the repair and maintenance needs of drivers across Baldwin County. Learn more about their services online, and schedule your auto repair today at (251) 943-8814.