Tips on how to check for overheating troubles in a car – Indiandrives way

The one thing that most of the people worry about is overheating in their cars. Often it can be seen in movies about the time when smoke comes out from under the bonnet and the hero rushes off to get some water from the nearby lake. Now, that’s something which can be called as “Filmy”. Not too many people would hand over their cars to complete strangers and go onto search for water or coolant. Any internal combustion engine works by burning fuel. And this energy is used to power the front or rear wheels. But then, the by-product of this is heat. For this very reason, manufacturers provide cooling systems for the engine and corresponding components. Around a hot engine, a cooling liquid is circulated and this liquid is then brought back to the radiator, which is placed in front of the car and once cooled, is sent back to the engine. Like in the older films, most of the Jeeps used water as their cooling liquid whereas modern day cars make do with coolants.

One of the major aspects affecting a car’s performance is the overheating problem. It is very nerve wracking to see the needle of the temperature gauge pointing towards the high end. If at all, your car does over heat, the first thing to do is to take it to the side of the road and allow it to cool down by idling. If it still doesn’t cool down enough, then switch off the engine. Once this is done, ask for help from a mechanic or just check for the following steps and if required, lookout for professional help.

Water pump problems :

An essential part of the cooling system in a car’s engine is the water pump. The effective circulation of the coolant happens through it. An improperly functioning water pump means that the car wouldn’t be able to run for a few kilometers without stopping for overheating issues. Upon opening the hood, if you find some low pitched grinding noise coming from the water pump pulley bearings or if the opposite ends of the pulley rock back and forth, then it means that the entire pump assembly needs to be replaced or either the bearings have come loose. Well, this cannot be replaced without professional help and hence you should be either calling your friendly mechanic or looking out for the nearest service station.

Thermostat problems :

The most common problem to happen in car cooling systems is the thermostat. Usually a thermostat becomes stuck or can even freeze in the closed position. This leads to blockage of the flow of the coolant. Opening up the bonnet of the car reveals various things. Check out for the upper radiator hose. Once the engine has idled enough, the radiator hose should also be on the warmer side. If the upper radiator hose still feels cold, then it means that the thermostat of the car is not working properly. This would require the intervention of professional help.

Leakage of Coolant :

Now, the Filmy part. Low coolant levels lead to insufficient cooling of the engine resulting in overheating issues. This is very easy to diagnose since the radiator would be low on fuel and more often than not, the place where your car has been standing for a long time, would have a pool of coolant fluid beneath it. Welds and hoses of the radiator should be checked for any leaks. If there are no visible leaks, then the cooling system pressure needs to be checked at a workshop.

Radiator Clogging :

A radiator which is clogged would also be the cause of overheating in the car. Radiator accumulates debris from the road and some rust residues as well. More often than not, this can be attributed to the conditions that the vehicle is driven in and also this tends to happen over a period of time. During regular servicing intervals, the radiator fluid needs to be flushed and if this is not done, then the radiator would be a clogged affair. If the car has ever been involved in a front shunt, then the coolant flow may be restricted due to the damage to the radiator. An easy method to check this is by pressing the hose pipes and see if they have become soft when the car is idling. If they have, then its time to take the car to a workshop and get it cleaned enough. A clean radiator would serve better and most of the overheating problems would tend to vanish.

Radiator Cap seal :

Adding pressure to the Radiator system is the radiator cap seal. It works in a similar fashion to the whistle atop a pressure cooker. Moreover, it seals the entire system from the outside environment. The boiling point of the coolant is raised due to this very reason. As a result, the engine operates at higher temperature without any problem. However with the damaged seals of the radiator cap and also a faulty cap, the pressure from the entire system would be lost and also the coolant would boil at a much lower temperature. A radiator cap may seem simple but it has 3 different seals and any one of them could fail leading to lose in the pressure. A failed pressure seal will lead to the coolant boiling at lower temperature thus making the coolant to become foamy. The reason for it to become foamy would be that this coolant would reach the expansion reservoirs causing localized hot spots inside the engine which would speed up the process of head gasket failure. An ill fitting radiator cap would also lead to a failed head gasket.

Non working cooling fan :

A cooling fan gone bad would also lead to overheating. Once the vehicle reaches the desired operating temperature, an electric fan behind the radiator would come on. This happens even when the AC is turned on. If this electric fan doesn’t turn on, its time to get it replaced. When the car is turned off with the engine being still warm, the fan shouldn’t rotate too easily. Areas near the fan clutch should also be checked for any signs of leakage.

It is recommended that two different types of coolants be never mixed. It can be that both aren’t compatible with each other and end up doing more damage than good. The water pump impeller may have corrosion due to this and this would further compound the problem of overheating. There are different color shades available for coolants and this makes it all the more easy to check which one your car uses. Also, if you have already mixed two different types of coolants, then it is time to clean the entire reservoir and fill up coolant from one brand only.

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