The coolant temperature warning light is one of the most critical warning lights that you should never ignore because it indicates engine overheating, which is a critical problem any driver might deal with.
Warning lights are very important when taking care of your vehicle and maintaining its lifetime. As a driver, you should never ignore any warning light, even if this warning light might be linked to a minor problem. In many scenarios, these warning lights can be linked to major complications resulting in undesirable outcomes.
One of the critical warning lights that you should keep an eye on is the coolant temperature warning light. This warning light is directly linked to the engine's performance, and once it illuminates, it should not be ignored because it can immediately result in engine self-destruction.
This article provides you with all you need to know about the coolant temperature warning light, along with the different causes for this warning light. We will also assist you with tips and tricks about what needs to be done when this warning light illuminates.
What does it mean when the coolant temperature warning light Illuminates?
Before we dive into the details about the meaning of the coolant temperature warning lights, it is important to highlight that not every vehicle will have a temperature warning light. Even for those vehicles with light, it might look a little different depending on the vehicle's type.
The other thing to keep in mind is that vehicle engines usually operate within a certain temperature level. This level usually does not go over 225 degrees Fahrenheit and also does not go below 195 degrees for her night.
For instance, some vehicles might display a text indicating that your vehicle's temperature increases to a warning level. In other cars, you might only see a symbol indicating the temperature is increasing, and usually, this looks like a floating thermometer in the coolant.
Whatever indication your car has, once the computer complains about high temperature, you must shut off the vehicle and take immediate action by consulting your mechanic to see whether you can drive this car to the repair shop or not.
What are the common causes for the coolant temperature?
By now, you should understand that the temperature coolant warning light is a critical condition and must be taken care of immediately. However, you need to understand what triggers this warning light and the different causes for your vehicle overheating issues. Once you understand the causes, you can eliminate these causes and save your vehicle's engine.
Let's take a closer look below at some of the common causes for engine overheating:
Low coolant level
If you don't know already, the cooling system is responsible for bringing the engine's temperature down whenever it exceeds a certain threshold. The cooling system operates using a certain fluid referred to as the coolant.
Any car should have a certain level of coolant, and whenever this level drops, the engine will not receive the required amount of cooling, and therefore, it is very likely to deal with engine overheating.
There are plenty of causes for coolant level drop in your car. You will see a significant drop in the coolant level in most scenarios once there is any leak around the cooling system. It's hard to tell where exactly the leak might happen. It could happen in the hoses, around the transmission area, or probably around the engine's area.
Whatever the coolant leak is, your mechanic should take care of it immediately. That's why it can be challenging for you as a driver to determine where the leak is coming from, and your best and probably the only option is to have your car inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic. Usually, professional mechanics will have certain toolsets to help them determine every single leak and every small crack.
Issues with the thermostat
The thermostat is another important component of your vehicle's cooling system. It is responsible for controlling the flow of coolant around the engine.
For example, the thermostat will open whenever the engine's temperature rises above a certain threshold. Once the thermostat opens, the coolant can flow freely around the engine to bring its temperature down. Similarly, when the engine temperature did not reach the optimum level, the thermostat will stay closed to prevent the engine's temperature down.
Over time of use, this thermostat might get stuck opened or stuck closed for a variety of reasons. At the same time, a stuck open thermostat is considered a problem, as the top close thermostat is a significant issue, and that's where you will be dealing with engine overheating.
Problems with the water pump
Another important point is responsible for certain speeds and pressures to help bring the engine temperature down within the optimum Time frame.
Since the water pump is a mechanical device, it is very suitable for damages, especially in the blade impellers.
Once the pump fails, you must immediately take care of the problem to prevent unnecessary and undesirable outcomes.
Issues with the radiator
It's important to note here that once the coolant temperature rises, it goes back and flows around the radiator to reduce its temperature and repeat the cycle.
When the coolant gets very hot and the radiator does not work properly, it will fail to bring the engine temperature down, and that's when you might deal with engine overheating due to problems with the radiator.
Troubles with the cooling fan
Even if the user is working just fine, it depends heavily on a series of fans responsible for allowing the air to flow, especially when you're driving at lower speeds or idling. Once the fan does not work properly, you want to get the required jump from the radiator, which means that the coolant will be hot all the time.
As a result, and overheating can happen shortly, and you will notice this once it triggers the coolant temperature warning light.
Issues with the engine's internal components
While the most common causes for engine overheating usually come from the cooling system, there are scenarios where the engine's internal system might be failing in some parts.
For instance, when you're dealing with a blown head gasket or probably a cracked engine block, engine overheating is one of the common outcomes of these situations.
The challenge here is that some of these situations might happen due to engine overheating. For instance, when your engine overheats a lot, the head gasket might blow out, and the cylinder might get cracked. So, it's hard to tell which causing which unless you perform a thorough inspection.
Can I drive a car with a coolant temperature warning light illuminating?
Although the coolant temperature warning light does not necessarily mean that your vehicle is in danger, continuing driving this car can result in undesirable outcomes. Some of these outcomes might be complete engine failure.
Therefore, based on our experience, we always advise that whenever you're dealing with the coolant temperature warning light, you must shut off the car and consult your mechanic about whether you should drive this car or not. There are very common situations where continuing driving the car results in engine failure quickly.
Whatever reason preventing you from taking care of the temperature warning lights should not be more important than the other complications you might be dealing with. For instance, some drivers might delay the maintenance until they have free time. However, if you think about the amount of time you will put once the engine gets completely damaged, you will understand that it's very crucial to take care of the temperature warning light immediately.
How much does it cost to fix a coolant temperature warning light?
It all depends on the source of the problem. For example, if your problem is coming from a failed coolant temperature sensor, repair costs usually range between $134 and 155 dollars.
However, if the issue comes from a blown head gasket, which is one of the very expensive repairs you might deal with, it will cost you somewhere between $1600 and around $2000.
On the other hand, if the thermostat is the culprit, repair costs range from $197.00 to $227.00.
Lastly, if your coolant temperature warning light illuminates due to a problem with the coolant leak, determining the final price can be tricky because it depends heavily on the severity of this leak. For instance, if the leak is not very big, you might end up pink about $100. And the other hand, if the coolant leak is severe, you might need to be around $800 in some situations, if not more.
The other issue with coolant leaks is that it's not something you can do at home, which means that you will end up paying a good chunk on labor costs. Imagine the difference between replacing a thermostat, for example, versus fixing coolant leaks.
What do I do if my temperature warning light comes on?
When the coolant temperature warning light comes on, you should stop driving your vehicle immediately because it indicates that your car is entering what's called the red zone.
If you're driving on Hwy, try to find a safe spot or exit so you can pull over honestly for the road. Once you stop in a good location far from traffic, the next step for you is to make sure that you sell the engine for at least 20 minutes and never attempt to get it to work. After waiting for 20 minutes, you can go ahead and give it a try to test whether the coolant temperature warning light is still there.
If that's the case, you must consult a mechanic to see whether you can continue driving this car to the nearest repair shop or not. In some scenarios, you might end up towing this car to the repair shop instead of driving it.
Why is my car overheating, but it has coolant in it?
There is a common misconception that low coolant level is the only and one cause for engine overheating. As we indicated before, engine overheating can happen due to various reasons, and the second comment cause is a stuck close thermostat.
Keep in mind that overheating can also happen due to problems with the head gaskets, the cylinder itself, and others. Therefore, it's really hard to tell why your vehicle is overheating even if it has the optimum coolant level because it can be linked to various other problems.
A coolant temperature warning light is one of the most critical warning lights, and the driver might deal with it. It indicates that the engine's temperature is rising above the optimum level.
Once this happens, your engine has a high chance of getting self-destructed, which is not a desirable outcome.
It's very important for you as a driver once you see the coolant temperature warning light to stop driving the vehicle and consult your mechanic to see whether you can keep going to the nearest repair shop or not.
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