An overheating engine is one of the most common reasons that people have for getting their car towed. Part of what makes this problem so worrisome--and hard to diagnose--is that it may be caused by any number of undesirable problems. If you would like to learn more about troubleshooting a common automotive issue, read on. This article will teach you about three potential reasons your car is overheating.
Low Coolant Level
An insufficient amount of coolant is by far the most common cause of engine overheating. It means that your car's sophisticated cooling system will be rendered virtually useless. In other words, as your engine's temperature rises, there will be nothing standing between you and an overheated car.
Fortunately, this issue can be easily circumvented by checking the coolant level in your car. To do this, begin by turning off your car and allowing it to cool down thoroughly. Now open up the hood. You will find the coolant located in a see-through plastic tank, commonly located next to the radiator. If you're still unsure, simply check the lid, which should be clearly labeled.
On the outside of the coolant tank, you should notice minimum and maximum level indications. Add as much coolant as necessary to fill the tank back up to its maximum level.
If you've checked your coolant supply, only to find that it looks sufficient, the problem may instead have to do with a clog in your radiator. This is often caused by excessively old or contaminated coolant. These issues tend to cause a build up of gunk inside the radiator, thus negatively impacting its ability to circulate coolant through the system.
Fixing this problem will require a trip to your local mechanic. There, the radiator system will be thoroughly flushed of old coolant and contaminants, then refilled with fresh coolant. In general, this is a maintenance task that you should plan on having done after roughly every 30,000 miles of driving.
Your cooling system contains a valve-like thermostat whose task is to open up as temperatures increase, thus allowing the radiator to pump coolant through the engine. The higher the temperature, the greater the amount of coolant allowed in through the thermostat--at least in principle.
Over time, thermostats have a tendency to become stuck or even break completely. When that happens, coolant is not able to circulate through the engine, no matter how high its temperature has become. This is more likely to become a problem when driving on the highway, since high speeds mean a greater amount of heat being produced in the engine. Schedule a visit to your mechanic as soon as possible to verify whether this is the cause of your problem.
If you do end up needing towing services after your car overheats, contact a company like Parkway Wrecker Service for help.