If You Have an Overheating Car

f you have to love your car for it to love you back

the radiator is the square black thing at the front

An American friend of mine is on a long toad trip, and she’s worrying a bit because her car is on the verge of overheating on long mountain climbs.  Well, as a guy well-used to running old cars I personally wouldn’t worry so much unless the thing actually boiled, and then I’d let it cool down completely, top up the radiator, and carry on.  (BTW, always carry a can of oil and some engine coolant in the back of your vehicle.  And learn some basic car mechanics.)

There are 4 main reasons that a car will overheat;

  1. It’s leaking coolant through a hose joint, (or the radiator itself, or the water pump).
  2. The thermostat is faulty.
  3. The electric fan isn’t working.
  4. The water pump is busted, (or the drive-belt to the water pump is broken, or slipping).

Three of those faults are easy to check for.  #1 there will be a pool of coolant under the car when it’s been parked for a while. #2 the radiator will be cool when the engine is hot.  #3 with the car parked and the engine running the fan should come on when the engine gets hot.  Trust me you will be able to hear it when it’s working.

#4 needs a mechanic, and as water pumps almost last forever it’s unlikely to be busted unless it’s an older car.  In which case check to see if it’s ever been replaced.  This fault is the least likely.  If the pulley is turning the pump is working.  If your AC and electrics are working it isn’t a drive-belt problem.

Actually there is a 5th reason, you are working the car very, very hard indeed, like climbing up a mountain.  There is a limit to how hard you can work anything or anyone, and if you pass that limit things will start to go wrong.

Faults 1, 2, 3, and 5 are very easily cured, (9 times out of 10).

The trouble is few people know much about car mechanics, and if you take it into a shop you are likely to be stuffed with the cost of the most expensive repair possible, so learn just a little practical car mechanics.  It’s a few hours and will save you a lot of time, money, and worries.  (Sometime your car isn’t overheating at all the gauge on the dashboard is giving a false reading.)

(On older cars there is always the possibility that the cooling system is furred-up, in which case it would benefit from flushing.  Here’s how https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s–5ft5YiHg ).

Treat your car well, and it will repay the favour.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

the radiator is the black thing at the front

2 responses

  1. Generally leaks start off small, and then get worse and worse as the car heats up.
    Happened to me once, and where the leak was on that old sports car was not a roadside job to fix. Guess what, I needed a tow. ❤

    Like

  2. I was on a short road trip ages ago..I think it was early summer of ’16. I know a smidge about rigs, but not a lot. The temps were soaring the two days of my journey and my poor car paid for it. It was #1 and then I needed the tow and mechanic cuz it was too hot to let it rest and go on. I fried it. I was very annoyed because it hadn’t acted up til I took it on a trip alone! Steep lonely hills in frying hot weather. I ran my AC a lot and then had to stop using it and that overheated me..it was just a bad experience!

    Liked by 1 person

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