Regardless of how well you care for your car, at some point, the engine can overheat. An overheated car can be a scary experience, and if you do not handle it right, you could end up causing further damage to the vehicle. If you are a car owner, here is what you need to know about overheating engines.
Why Is Your Engine Overheating?
There are several reasons that your engine could overheat, but most of the time, the problem points back to your radiator. Your radiator's job is to help divert heat away from the engine. When it is not functioning properly, the engine can heat up quickly.
Although the radiator is usually the main culprit, other parts of your cooling system could be to blame. For instance, there could be a leak in another component, such as the water pump or thermostat housing. Instead of the coolant being funneled through the system as it should, the radiator and other cooling components are left without the amount of fluid needed.
Another potential issue is that the hoses to the cooling system are blocked. Sometimes, dirt or grime can get into the hoses and leave a buildup that is difficult for the coolant to push through.
There could even be an issue with the type of coolant that you are using. Coolants are not one-size-fits-all fluids. Different coolants are needed in different situations. You also need to be sure that the ratio of water to coolant is right. If not, there might not be enough coolant to help keep the engine cool.
What Should You Do?
When you notice the engine is overheating, your first reaction might be to remove the radiator cap. This is one of the biggest mistakes you could make. When the engine overheats, steam or pressure builds up in the cooling system. If you remove the cap, you could end up with serious burns from the steam and spewing coolant.
Instead of removing the cap, turn off your car and wait. Allow the engine the time needed to cool off. Open the hood to encourage the engine to cool down quicker. When opening the hood, take it slowly. Hot air from the overheated engine could rush out.
Once the car has cooled, you can start to troubleshoot the cause of the overheated engine. For instance, you can check the coolant levels and ensure you have the right one. You can also look for blockage or leaks. However, the best policy is to take the car to an auto repair shop for a thorough inspection.