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Why Is My Car Overheating (And What Can I Do)

Compact Cars, Bridgend

February 14, 2017 at 3:06 PM

why-does-my-car-overheat-while-driving.jpgHave you ever wondered why your car overheats? Well there can be many reasons for this, that we list below, but firstly we have to ask the question, what is overheating? This is simply when an engine's temperature exceeds the normal range, and as a result there can be extensive damage to the mechanics of the car. Any temperature that is upwards of 240 degrees can cause long term damage. 

The most common reasons why cars overheat

Below we list the most common reasons. 

1. A leak in the cooling system - this can cause air to enter the system. This air rises within the cooling system and as a result will form an airlock. As this large air bubble is trapped, it prevents the coolant from circulating around the engine, and as a result of this, the engine overheats. 

2. Any obstruction in the coolant system As above, this will prevent the circulation of coolant. Common reasons for a blockage in the coolant system include:

- A faulty thermostat
- Build up of mineral deposits
- Invasion by foreign objects

3. Damaged water pump This is a common problem. When the pump stops, so does the coolant, and the engine will inevitably overheat. 

4. Incorrect concentration of coolant If the concentration used is not correct, then this can be a huge problem, especially in the winter months. What can happen is that the coolant can solidify, causing a hard gel like mass, that obviously will not be able to circulate around the system, causing the engine to overheat. 

Ways you can try to cool the engine down

There are many things that you can do to cool the engine down if you find that you are on the road and the engine has overheated. The first point of action should be to open all windows and turn off the air conditioning. Doing so will speed up the engine cooling process. The next step is to switch on the heater, as this will divert heat away from the engine. If you see that the engine temperature is rising, then it is a good idea to top the engine up with antifreeze, if you have it, or alternatively water, as a short term measure to get you home. Most problems occur due to a lack of coolant in the system. 

Worst case scenarios

As we have already stated, most engines overheat due to a problem with coolant levels, the coolant system or pump. However, sometimes an engine that persistently overheats can mean that there is a more sinister and underlying problem. If your engine does overheat regularly then you need to get the problem looked at. The worst case scenario is that there is a problem and perhaps permanent damage to your engine, which could cost you a lot of money if it needs to be replaced. 


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