5 Common Causes of Engine Overheating

With summer in full swing, temperatures are rising—and so is the risk of your car overheating. After all, if the sun is baking your car at 90 to 100 degrees and the engine hasn’t even been turned on, it’s starting at a significant disadvantage.

There are many factors beyond external temperature that can contribute to the risk of your car overheating. Most of these are preventable if you know what to look for. Before you hit the road for a summer road trip, give your car a complete checkup. Here are five of the most common causes of overheating. 

1. Thermostat Troubles Cause Car Overheating

One of the most common reasons your engine may overheat is a malfunctioning thermostat. The thermostat in your car’s cooling system is rather different from the one in your house. In your home, your thermostat keeps track of the temperature and triggers the heat or air conditioning system to turn on.

Your engine thermostat is actually a valve that controls the flow of coolant. When the engine gets too hot, the valve opens and coolant flows through to reduce the engine temperature. Inversely, a cool engine keeps the valve closed to block the flow of coolant allowing the cold engine to warm up.

A broken thermostat might be stuck in the closed position, preventing coolant flow through the radiator. No matter how hot the engine gets, the coolant is unable to pass through. Without the coolant, your engine can overheat rapidly.

thermostat graphic

2. Coolant Concerns

If your thermostat is working properly, there are other coolant-related issues that can cause your engine to overheat. 

  • Your coolant passageways throughout the engine, hoses, radiator, or water pump may be blocked with rust or other debris.
  • There may not be enough coolant in the engine. This could be caused by long-term evaporation of coolant in the reservoir or improper filling of coolant. 
  • Low coolant level due to a leak in the system.  Leaks can occur in many different parts of the engine and can be very difficult to find. Don’t try to repair a cooling system leak on your own; take your car to a professional.
  • Your coolant may not be diluted to the correct concentration. This will predispose your engine to overheating. 

BG Universal Coolant/Antifreeze offers complete and long-lasting cooling system protection under the most severe conditions. It is designed to be used in all gasoline, diesel, and natural gas fueled engines.

3. Water Pump Woes

Your engine’s water pump is one of the most important parts of your car’s cooling system. It controls the flow of coolant through the entire engine cooling system. Corrosion, other contaminants, or a faulty pump can cause water pump failure which leads to overheating.

The engine belt turns the water pump to move the coolant through the system. So proper belt function is closely related to how well your water pump works. If the engine belt is loose or broken, the pump won’t turn and won’t propel the coolant. Have a professional technician tighten or replace broken belts to keep everything cool and avoid bigger engine problems.

4. Radiator Remorse

Your radiator is responsible for cooling down the engine’s coolant as it passes through. This means proper radiator function is vital to maintaining the engine temperature.

A number of things can cause radiator problems such as: damaged, obstructed, or leaking cooling fins, or broken radiator fans. Any of these factors can prevent the radiator from reducing the coolant temperature adequately.

5. Hose Hassles

Cooling system hoses move the coolant between the engine, heater core, and radiator. Over time, hoses can become cracked or clogged, and hose clamps can break or loosen. Any of these problems will prevent the proper flow of coolant through the cooling system and lead to overheating.

Whether you’re planning a multi-state road trip or just cruising the neighborhood streets, your car deserves top-notch care. Have your vehicle checked out at a BG shop so you won’t lose your cool on the side of the road as your engine is billowing steam! 

Find a BG shop today and ask about these professional-strength BG products and services.

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