What Causes a Car Engine to Overheat?

Summertime is almost here and that means warmer weather in Northern Delaware. It also means more customers visiting Fox Run Auto because their cars are overheating. There are numerous reasons why an engine may overheat, and it doesn't always have to do with the hot weather. Your engine can overheat any time of year if certain problems are going on. Let's take a look at some of the most common causes of an overheating engine:

Low, Old or Contaminated Oil

If your engine oil has a low fluid level, or if the oil itself is old, crusty, dirty or contaminated, it can cause all sorts of engine damage. One potential issue could be overheating as the cooling system can't keep up with the excess friction caused by fast-moving engine parts that aren't getting proper lubrication from the motor oil. This is why it is important to get your oil changed at recommended service intervals.

Low, Old or Contaminated Coolant

The fluid that is more likely to cause an engine to overheat is in your radiator. Coolant lives up to its name by running through the cooling system and helping pull heat away from the engine. The coolant level could be too low because of a leak or just through evaporation over time. Or, it could be old or contaminated, which means it won't work as effectively. Ultimately, your cooling system will perform poorly and the engine will pay the price by overheating.

Cooling System Failure

The cooling system is made up of many parts. Sensors or one of the parts could fail and lead to overheating problems. Some of the more common parts failures include water pumps, fans and fan belts. If something breaks or isn't working right, your engine temperature will start to run hotter and will likely overheat if the problem isn't fixed.

Clogged Air Filter

Your engine needs air to effectively combust the fuel and provide power. The cleaner the air, the better it will run. This is why you have an engine air filter to keep out dirt, dust, grease and other contaminants that could affect performance. If your air filter is clogged with debris or has holes letting bigger particles through, your engine will start to struggle and could overheat. It's a good idea to change your air filter as often as recommended.

Failing Thermostat

Your vehicle has a thermostat tracking engine temperature and controlling the cooling system to keep the temperatures regulated during operation. If the thermostat fails, engine temperatures may not be regulated properly and it could end up overheating. 

These are just a few of the most common causes of engines overheating. At the first sign of overheating, you should get your vehicle looked at by an automotive expert. It's best to find and fix the problem before it gets worse. The last thing you want is for the engine to be damaged from running too hot!

For all your engine and cooling system care needs in Northern Delaware, call Fox Run Auto today at (302) 597-9205 or schedule your service appointment online.


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