Overheated Engine: Common Causes, Solutions, and Steps to Take When Your Vehicle Overheats

Posted on: 8 March 2016

An overheated engine is something you don't want to have on your car because it can be dangerous and may result in permanent damage to your engine. Therefore, it's important to understand some of the possible causes of an overheated engine and how you can deal with them. Besides, when your vehicle overheats, you should be in a position to know exactly what to do so that you help alleviate the situation. For this reason, here are important things you need to know about an overheated engine.


Here are a few situations that may lead to an overheated engine.

Low levels of oil or coolant: This is among the major causes of an overheated engine. The coolant ensures that your engine operates within normal or the required temperatures. Therefore, it is important to always check your coolant levels and fill it when necessary.

Plugged radiator: A plugged radiator will cut down on the liquid circulation in your engine system, which will affect its cooling. Therefore, ensure your radiator is inspected regularly to ensure that it is functional.

Dragging your brakes: If you are in crawling traffic, don't move up and stop repeatedly because this will increase the load on your engine and make it heat up. Instead, ensure there's a large gap in front before you move.

Faulty thermostat: If another problem caused your engine to overheat and you had it repaired, make sure the thermostat is checked as well to prevent overheating in future. A thermostat that won't open will result in an overheated engine because it (the engine) won't get enough coolant that it needs. If your thermostat is bad, you will mostly have an overheated engine when driving at high speeds because your engine requires extra cooling at those speeds.

What You Need To Do When Your Vehicle Engine Overheats

It's important to know what to do when your engine overheats so that you help the engine to cool faster. Some of the signs that your engine is overheating include your temperature gauge rising quickly past the normal limit, water vapour or steam --which usually looks like smoke-- pouring out of your bonnet, and unusual smells from your engine. If you observe any of these signs, here is what you should do:

Pull over and open your bonnet: Doing this as early as possible will ensure that your vehicle doesn't break down on the road and will allow faster dispersion of the heat.

Open your windows and shut off the air conditioner: Doing this will also help your engine cool off and reduce the load on it.

Turning on the blower and heater: If your vehicle has a blower and heater, turn them on. Although this may be a little discomforting to you, doing this will transfer heat from your engine to your passenger area and help the engine cool off.

If your car keeps on having problems, it may be a good idea to visit a car service in your area for a professional diagnosis.