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Why Your Engine Overheats

Common Engine Overheating Causes

Coolant System

The most common cause of engine overheating is due to lack of coolant. If your coolant level is too low, your vehicle’s cooling system cannot work properly. Coolant levels can drop through normal use. If you notice significant drops in the fluid level, check for coolant leaks or the possibility of a clogged radiator. To learn more about the warning signs, see our page on the signs of a coolant leak. Also make sure to use the coolant ratio recommended for your vehicle. Consult your owners manual for the correct levels.

Extreme Temperatures

Your vehicle’s cooling system is designed to keep your engine running within normal temperature ranges (typically 195 to 220℉, depending on make and model). Coolant will boil at 225℉, but pressure created by the radiator cap and coolant blend ratios also help to increase the temperature that can be withstood.

Fan, Pump, Hose, and Thermostat Failures

A faulty radiator or radiator fan can cause engine overheating if proper cooling is not occurring. Additionally, when a water pump (one of the most important parts of the cooling system) malfunctions, it can lead to leaks or bearing problems that can cause overheating. Hose damage and hose collapses can also play a part in inadequate cooling, as well was a stuck or faulty thermometer.

The Consequences of Overheating

The damage caused by overheating an engine can be serious. Overheating can cause damage to pistons, cylinders, bearings, and valves, as well as many other vital engine components. As a result, warning signs of overheating should never be ignored; shut down your vehicle at the first indication that your engine may be operating above normal temperatures!

Engine Overheating Prevention

  • Avoid overheating by keeping an eye on your vehicle’s temperature gauge and coolant levels
  • Regularly inspect your belts and hoses for damage and/or abnormalities
  • Confirm your radiator cap is working properly and replace, if needed—remember not to remove the cap when the engine is hot
  • Flush your coolant and radiator on occasion to help maintain a functioning cooling system

As always, the experts at Pep Boys are available to discuss recommended maintenance for your vehicle. We offer a range of services to keep you on the road.

Have more questions about engine performance? The trusted experts at Pep Boys are here to help you every step of the way. Make an appointment with your local Pep Boys today!