An Auto Mechanic’s Guide to Overheating Cars

Man and his over heated car

The engines that power the cars of today are sophisticated, complex and refined. That doesn’t mean they are perfect, however. Though overheating is less of a concern now than it was for previous generations of car owners, it can still happen. From time to time, you should check your vehicle’s temperature gauge while driving. If the gauge consistently reads above normal, your engine may be at risk, so make sure to take action before more important (and more costly!) problems develop.

Your first step should be to consult an experienced professional with auto mechanic training from auto mechanic schools. He or she is likely to explore various solutions, including the following.

Add coolant

A professional auto mechanic will know that the first step to fixing engine overheating is to properly diagnose the coolant problem. A low coolant level often suggests there is either an external or internal leak. Without sufficient coolant, heat will build up inside the engine, as the role of coolant in the engine is to circulate and dissipate heat. If there isn’t enough coolant in the radiator, this is likely the cause of the overheating issues. As a first step toward diagnosis, the mechanic will likely check the coolant level and make sure it isn’t running low.

Broken electric fan

Broken Fan

If the coolant level seems fine, the mechanic will likely move on to verifying that the electric cooling fan inside the engine is functioning properly. The role of an electric fan is to draw cool air from outside through the radiator, which means a faulty electric fan can also cause the engine to overheat. A great way for the mechanic to test if the electric fan is broken is simply to start the car, then let it idle for a while. If the engine’s temperature gauge is slowly moving towards the danger zone while the car is at a standstill, this could indicate that the electric fan is defective.

Broken fan belt

Though modern engines rarely use fan belts anymore, older models still have them. An experienced auto mechanic will know how to spot this piece of equipment, as there will be a belt attached to the fan. The belt can break down over time, causing problems similar to a faulty electric fan. The good news, in that case, is that repairing a defective fan belt is cheaper than repairing a fan. Your mechanic shouldn’t take too long to replace this part, as this is something he or she will have learned as part of various auto mechanic courses.

Clogged radiator

A car that has accumulated more than 50 000 miles can develop problems related to the radiator getting clogged up with coolant. Coolant fluid should be flushed periodically according to manufacturer’s recommendations. If every year in the spring you bring your car in for a tune-up, it’s possible that the auto mechanic taking care of your vehicle is already replacing your coolant, if advocated by manufacturers’ guidelines and specifications, allowing you to start fresh. By bringing in your car for maintenance every now and then, to replace the coolant or make sure that there’s enough oil to lubricate the engine, you can avoid a number of potential headaches and costly problems.

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