Why is My Car Overheating?

August 20, 2015

auto mechanic repairing a car engineWhy is my car overheating? What can I do to fix it? In many instances, your overheated engine can be a simple problem to solve and you won’t need to spend money on a mechanic, but in some cases it can be serious. Compare.com helps you assess the problem and find a way to stop your car from overheating.

Engine Overheating Causes & Solutions in Summer Months

As temperatures rise through the summer months, this can increase the likelihood that your car will overheat. Where and how you are driving when your car overheats can help you diagnose the problem. The information below analyzes engine overheating causes & solutions to help you diagnose the reason and, in return, save you money on a service that may not require a mechanic. In instances where a professional is required, this information will better inform your mechanic for a quicker and cheaper service.

I see an antifreeze puddle where I park my car

If this is the case, the first thing you can do is have your radiator pressure tested for leaks. If your antifreeze is leaking, then you may have low levels of coolant in your radiator which could in turn cause your car to overheat.  Another symptom of this would be that your car overheats whether you are driving or idling. While your engine is cool, open the cap to your radiator and see how full it is. If you can see a fill line, then use that as a guide. If your fluid is low, fill it up and keep a check on it over the course of a couple days and see if you’re losing any. If you are, you’ll need to get it fixed or you could end up with a more expensive problem on your hands. Sometimes a simple radiator leak solution can fix it, but for a more permanent fix a mechanic may be necessary.

My car overheats when I’m not moving

If your car is overheating when you’re not moving there’s a good chance that something is wrong with your cooling fan. On the front of your radiator is an electric fan designed to push air to the radiator to improve its engine cooling ability. If the fan isn’t working properly, then the radiator can’t effectively cool your engine, especially on a hot summer day. Not to worry, fixing a cooling fan is typically inexpensive.

My car overheats while driving

If witness your car overheating while driving at highway speeds, you’ve got a different kind of overheating problem. This one is a little more complex because it could be any number of things. The potential causes of a car overheating at highway speeds are a stuck thermostat, a restricted radiator, or a kinked hosed. Regardless of the problem, you’ll likely need a mechanic’s help in finding and fixing this issue. The fix could be as simple as replacing a hose or your car could require a new radiator altogether depending on which problem you have and how severe that problem is.

Prevent your car from overheating

Want to prevent your car from overheating? Just follow these simple steps and you’ll likely save yourself from some expensive maintenance further down the road.

  • Keep a check on your coolant levels, not just in your radiator, but in the radiator overflow tank as well.
  • Perform scheduled maintenance such as hose replacements and radiator flushes to ensure debris and buildup don’t clog your radiator.
  • Always use the type of coolant recommended in your car’s manual. The wrong kind of coolant can cause problems.
  • Check your car’s fluid levels before driving anywhere. While the engine is cool, make sure that fluids are at appropriate levels so that you don’t have to deal with any mechanical issues on the side of the road.

Car Owner’s Guide

What to do in a hit and run? What steps can you take to prevent auto theft? What can I do to lower my auto insurance payments? Car owners get faced with a lot of questions. Read our Car Owners Guide to make sure you’re getting the most out of your car.

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