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Why Is My Car Overheating?

Andy Mohr Collision Center Blog

Posted: October 30, 2018

The engine is one complex piece of machinery. All those tiny moving parts, coils, and tubes make for a delicate ecosystem. One that doesn’t fare well under unnaturally high heat.

To keep their engines running properly, Plainfield, Indianapolis, Fishers, and Bloomington drivers will need to understand why and when their car is overheating. The Andy Mohr Collision Center team is here to explain things for you.

What Causes a Car to Overheat?

At the rate that the average engine performs, there’s typically quite a bit of friction generated under the hood. A cooling system has been included in your engine to keep things performing safely. However, if that malfunctions, the car can easily overheat.

In and of itself, the cooling system is fairly complex. Here’s what it is comprised of:

  • A coolant jacket: This is a network of channels that run through the engine block. As you drive, coolant will circulate throughout, absorbing heat and keeping your engine cool.
  • The water pump: Inside the water pump you’ll find an impeller, or a small fan that pushes the coolant through the engine block.
  • The heater core: Eventually, that coolant is going to be pushed into the heater core. This is the small radiator that heats your car’s interior. Coolant must pass through it to get to the final component.
  • The radiator: This is what ultimately disperses the heat of the coolant, returns it to a moderate temperature, and cycles it back to the water pump.

Common Malfunctions

Over time, any one of the parts in your cooling system can wear and become vulnerable. When they do, this is what you can expect.

  • Coolant leaks: With so many hoses, valves, and channels, it makes sense that at least one could spring a leak. If you start losing coolant, the temperature will quickly start to rise.
  • Water pump failure: Both the impeller and the bearings of the water pump can weaken over time. If they do, your coolant can’t circulate properly.
  • Old coolant: Coolant was made to endure but freezing cold temperature or even just old age can affect its viscosity and overall effectiveness. Make sure you’re checking your owner’s manual to determine when coolant should be changed.
  • Blockages: If any gunk builds up in your cooling system, the coolant may not be able to flow. In the end, this will cause temperatures to fluctuate.

What to Do if Your Car Overheats

When the car starts to overheat, you’ll have some obvious signs. There might be steam coming from under the hood, a warning light on your dash (in the shape of a thermometer), or the temperature gauge in the red.

If you notice any of these signs, the best thing to do is to pull over. Turn off the engine and allow things to cool off naturally. Typically, it takes 30 minutes for the temperature to drop to a safe degree.

As you wait, be sure to contact your local mechanic. They’ll need to take a look under the hood before your car is truly safe to drive again.

Contact Your Local Service Center

Has your car been overheating here in the Plainfield, Indianapolis, Fishers, and Bloomington areas? Don’t allow this issue to cause permanent damage to your vehicle! Instead, contact Andy Mohr Collision Center.

Schedule a service appointment today!

Andy Mohr Collision Centers