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How Do You Know If Your Car Engine is Damaged From Overheating?

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When your car overheats, it can be caused by a number of reasons but the most leading causes of overheating are problems within the cooling system. This can happen because the engine is capable of achieving a rotation speed of thousands of revolutions per minute. It means that its moving parts move extremely fast that can produce a great amount of heat. This is why any problems with the cooling system like leaks, bad water pump, or broken radiator fan can cause overheating which can lead to engine damage. How do you know if your car engine is damaged from overheating? You will know if your engine has suffered damage due to overheating if you notice problems such as head gasket failure, cracked engine block, warped cylinders, scuffed pistons, engine detonation, and melted or cracked seals.

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How Do You Know If Your Car Engine is Damaged From Overheating? – What Happens to Your Engine When it Overheats?



Overheating can happen and it usually happens due to issues with the cooling system and not with the engine itself. The engine is composed of a number of moving parts that work together to provide power to make the car move. Now these moving parts are capable of moving incredibly fast, grinding against each other which will create a huge amount of heat.


This is why the car’s cooling system is very important. Its role in the overall operation of the car is crucial since it helps maintain the proper operating temperature of the engine. Since the engine produces a lot of heat, the engine block and cylinder heads are built with passages through which the coolant flows or circulates to transfer the heat from the engine. The coolant will then flow from the engine through a hose to the radiator which will get rid of the heat by transferring it to the air passing through the radiator. The coolant, minus the heat, will go back to the engine to begin another cycle.


Before we answer the question, how do you know if your car engine is damaged from overheating, we need to understand why overheating occurs. Like mentioned earlier, overheating can happen when there are some issues with the cooling system. It includes:


  • Issues with the coolant.


When your coolant is low, it can cause overheating since there won’t be enough coolant to lubricate and cool the system. Overheating can also happen when you use the wrong type of coolant. To make sure that you are using the right coolant for your car, you can consult your owner’s manual.


  • Cooling system leaks.


The cooling system of a car has many components that are susceptible to leaks which include hoses, water pump, radiator, thermostat housing, and head gasket. Cooling system leaks can cause overheating since the coolant level may drop until it won’t be sufficient enough to lubricate and cool the engine. If you suspect a leak, you can check these components and look for any signs of damage. Have it corrected immediately.


  • Problems with the radiator.


When there is blockage, leaks, or any problems with the radiator, it can result in overheating. Issues with the radiator fan can also cause this problem. If the radiator fan fails to function completely, it won’t be able to cool the fluid and this can lead to overheating.


Issues with the radiator cap can also cause overheating. This can happen when the radiator cap is cracked or damaged since it won’t be able to maintain pressure in the cooling system.


  • Clogged coolant hose.


Debris, dirt or other foreign objects can make their way into your car’s cooling system while you are driving. It can lead to your coolant hose becoming clogged. Aside from clogging, the coolant hose can also weaken and deteriorate over time which can result in coolant leaks. If you notice that your house has leaks or has deteriorated, have it replaced immediately to keep your car from overheating.


  • Faulty water pump.


The water pump is responsible for making the coolant fluid move so it can circulate through the cooling system. If it becomes faulty and fails to do its task, it can lead to overheating. If you notice leaks or if the pump shaft has shifted, you need to have it inspected and repaired by a mechanic.


  • Faulty thermostat.


The thermostat is one of the main components of the cooling system. It is a heat-sensitive valve-like mechanical device which opens when it reaches a specific temperature to let the coolant flow through. This allows the engine of your car to warm up until it reaches the appropriate temperature before the coolant flows from the engine to the radiator. If the thermostat fails and remains in a closed position, the coolant won’t be able to flow and circulate through the engine and radiator, and this can lead to overheating.


How do you know if your car engine is damaged from overheating? What happens to your engine when it overheats? The answer can vary depending on how high the temperature goes.


  • When the temperature goes above 20 to 40 from the engine’s normal temperature range, your car may encounter issues like engine knock. When this happens and you continue to drive your car even if it is overheating, it can cause your pistons to become cracked, cause your piston ring to become scuffed or shattered, or melt your spark plug electrode strap.


  • If the temperature goes way above 40 to 80 degrees than the normal temperature, you may experience a significant loss or drop of power while you are driving. You may also notice that your engine is giving off rattling sounds. When you are driving with a temperature as high as this, it can damage your bearings, the top piston rings, and the interior of your engine’s wear surfaces.


  • Now, if your car has overheated to as much as 100 degrees and above, you will experience what the experts described as a total meltdown. When this happens, your engine might never work the same way again. Although you may still be able to save some engine components such as the rods, crankshaft, engine block, valve springs, intake and exhaust manifolds, timing chain, and many more, there won’t be any assurance that your engine will run like it did before. The repairs may be too expensive and you might have to have your engine replaced. If the repair bills will be too costly, you might just want to sell your car as is



How Do You Know If Your Car Engine is Damaged From Overheating? – Is My Engine Ruined From Overheating?



If your engine overheats, how do you know if your car engine is damaged from overheating? Can overheating really damage your engine? Unfortunately, it can. Overheating can cause your engine to suffer extensive damage. You will know if your car engine is damaged from overheating when you notice any of these problems.


  • Warped cylinders.


Each of the cylinders of an engine has a piston that moves up and down to produce the combustion to power your car. When your car suffers extreme overheating, it can lead to the seal between the piston and the rest of the engine to be lost which can cause the oil to seep past the piston rings until it reaches into the engine where it will be burned.


When this problem occurs, the piston may scrape against the cylinder walls which can cause unusual noises such as grinding and knocking sounds. You may also notice that your engine suffers power loss and poor performance due to the pressure loss.


  • Scuffed pistons.


When overheating were to occur in your car, the metal parts may respond to this heat by expanding. Although the metal parts of the engine are built to withstand extreme heat, exposure to a great deal of heat, more than what is deemed acceptable, can cause these metal parts to expand. One of which is the piston.


When the piston heats up, they can expand until they start touching the cylinder walls. When this happens, it can lead to problems such as scuffing or worn patches that can affect the ring lands and wrist pins of the piston.


If scuffing occurs and the problem has not been corrected, it can result in piston failure. Fuel can also begin to move upwards past the piston in the compression cycle when the edges of the piston are worn out and this increases the risk of a more serious engine damage.


  • Head gasket failure.


You may ask, how do you know if your car engine is damaged from overheating? You will know that it is damaged when you experience head gasket failure. This can occur since the head gasket functions as a seal between the engine block and the cylinder head to keep the coolant in its passages throughout the engine, keep the oil in the oil galleries, and the fuel in the combustion chambers. So when the engine overheats, the aluminum material of the head gasket may start to warp, expand, or crack.


When this happens, the head gasket will fail to act as a seal, causing some leaks which can lead to your engine to start burning coolant and oil. A blown head gasket is something you don’t want to deal with since it is very expensive to repair. To prevent this from happening, you should always be mindful of your car’s temperature.


  • Cracked engine block.


The engine block can also suffer some damages due to overheating. This can happen when extreme heat causes your engine block to expand and contract. This can cause cracks to develop which can lead to oil leaks, poor performance, and more overheating problems. Repairing a cracked engine block is known to be very difficult and will require a lot of time that the mechanic might recommend to have your engine replaced instead.


  • Engine detonation.


Detonation happens when the fuel combusts too early or erratically inside the cylinders. This problem should not happen when the engine is working perfectly. However, if overheating occurs, it may lead to detonation. It happens when the fuel combusts before even reaching its maximum combustion state. This decreases the amount of energy released from the fuel which can lead to a poor fuel economy. This problem can also give a great deal of stress to your engine since the explosion tends to produce a force which pushes in a direction which is opposite to the compression stroke of the piston.


How Do You Know If Your Car Engine is Damaged From Overheating? – How Can I Stop My Car From Overheating While Driving?


Now you know the answer to the question, how do you know if your car engine is damaged from overheating? The damage it can cause is something you don’t want to deal with since the repairs needed can be very expensive. So you might ask, how can I stop my car from overheating while driving?


If you notice any of the symptoms of an overheating engine such as above normal temperature gauge reading, poor acceleration, fluid leaks, unusual sounds or steam coming from the engine, you need to pull over in a safe spot and stop your car. You should not attempt to drive your car. You can call for help or a towing service and have your car checked immediately.


If you see your temperature gauge rising but your car is still running normally, to avoid further damage while you wait for the towing service, you can turn your car’s heat on since this can help pull the heat off the engine.


How do you know if your car engine is damaged from overheating? If you have asked this question, you have most likely experienced overheating recently and you want to make sure that your engine has not suffered any damages. To ensure that you won’t have to deal with this problem again, you need to take good care of your car’s cooling system since issues with the cooling system are the most leading causes of overheating.

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