You are driving down the street on the way to work when the red light flashes on the temperature gage of your car and steam starts to come out of the hood. You pull over as coolant dribbles from the vehicle and you realize you are once again going to be late getting to the office. You wonder why this is happening to you. There are actually several things that may cause a car to overheat.
Why Cars Overheat
Sometimes a car may overheat, simply because it needs coolant. All you have to do then is pour some coolant into the reservoir. However, if your car is overheating regularly, it has a major problem and you need to repair or replace it immediately.
Knowing what can cause a car to overheat can help you determine the severity of the problem.
The Thermostat is Stuck
The thermostat manages how much coolant flows through your engine. Your car’s thermostat can actually restrict the flow of coolant in your engine if it gets stuck. The average cost of replacing a car’s thermostat ranges between $217 and $253. The part itself should cost under $10.
How to Tell if the Thermostat is Stuck
When your temperature gage goes up and down erratically, it may mean your thermostat is stuck. If you feel your radiator hoses and notice that one is very hot and the other is very cold, it is usually a sign that the component is stuck.
The Water Pump has Stopped Working Properly
A water pump is essential to a car engine functioning properly, It allows the coolant to move through the hose radiator and the engine block. It works via the use of a serpentine belt which is attached to a crankshaft pulley.
The water pump pulls coolant out of the radiator and sends it to any components that need cooling down.
Coolant circulation is critical to maintaining the proper temperature of the car’s engine as it removes excess heat from the engine. When it fails, your vehicle will become overheated. You may have to replace the water pump. The average cost of a new water pump is between $490 and $638.
How to Tell if the Water Pump has Stopped Working
A bad bearing may cause a water pump to stop working. You may hear a funny noise coming from the engine. When your car is off and cold, you can wiggle the water pump to see if it is loose. A broken shaft shield can also cause a water pump to stop working. Be sure to examine the pump for cracks and damages. Make sure no seals are broken.
The Heater Core is Plugged
Another thing that can cause a car to overheat is when the heater core is plugged. A plugged core may be preventable if you know a bit about how the heater core itself works.
How the Heater Core Works
The heater core is the device that keeps the inside of your car warm on cold days. It is very similar to a radiator. Hot coolant passes from the engine into a winding tube of the heater core. The core transfers heat between the coolant and the cabin air.
A car has an internal combustion engine. It is generally cooled by a mixture of water and antifreeze which is circulated through the engine and radiator. A water pump enables the radiator to give off engine heat.
You will find the heater core under the dashboard. It is comprised of conductive brass or aluminium tubing. When the hot coolant passes through the heater core, it gives off heat and then it returns to the engine’s cooling circuit.
There is a centrifugal fan inside the ventilation system of the car that forces air to travel through the heater core. This causes heat from the coolant into the air of the cabin. The hot air then comes out of the vents.
How To Tell If the Heater Core is Blocked
The first thing that will happen if you have a blocked heater core is likely to be a coolant leak. If you try to fix a coolant leak with a stop leak product and it does not work, that is a strong clue that your core is blocked.
Corrosion can cause a blockage to your heater. If your heating system has a lot of rust, this can cause an obstruction in the heater core.
If you want to know if there is a clog, you should locate two hoses that are close together and attach to the firewall. These are the heater core hoses. If one of the hoses is hot to the touch and the other is cool, it is very likely that you have a clogged heater core. When this happens, you should have it drained.
If your car overheats due to a blocked core it can destroy your engine. Heater cores are expensive and the cost of replacement can run from $758 to $975.
A car may overheat if there is a block in the radiator. This happens when antifreeze cannot flow properly.
How Your Radiator Works
The radiator is technically part of your car’s cooling system. The cooling system keeps a car’s engine from getting too hot. First heat escapes from the exhaust pipes. Some of the heat from the engine will go into the radiator when the engine gets too hot.
The purpose of a radiator is to transfer heat from the hot coolant that travels through it to the air that also travels through it via the fan. If you have a newer car, it is likely to have an aluminum radiator. The coolant travels from the inlet to the outlet through a variety of tubes. The tubes are parallel to one another.
When a radiator is blocked it interrupts the flow of heat from the engine. This can cause the engine to overheat.
How to Tell if Your Radiator is Blocked
It is important to check for radiator leaks and blockage on a regular basis. Make sure to flush your radiator often. Rust building up inside the radiator can cause a clog. An inferior quality of coolant will contain additives that can cause your radiator to block.
Here are a few ways you can tell if your radiator is blocked.
1. Thick and Discolored Coolant
Before you ever put coolant into your car, remember to check it’s color, so you will know what it is supposed to look like. After you drive your car, you should check to see if your coolant is discolored, it may well have rust in it.
2. A Coolant Leak
If you notice a big puddle of coolant under your car when you get ready to go to work in the morning, you should check to see where it is coming from. Coolant leaks occur when the fluid can’t circulate in the radiator.
3. Damaged Water Pump
If your water pipe appears to be damaged, it may be due to a clogged radiator. When a radiator is clogged, the flow of coolant will stop flowing into the water pump and this will corrode the pump.
4. Damaged Radiator Fins
If air does not circulate through the fins of a radiator, heat from the coolant will not be removed properly. If you see that the fins are bent, there is a good chance there is a stoppage of the radiator caused by outside debris such as gravel.
5. Passenger Heater is Not Working
If your passenger is cold, it may be because your heater has a clog. In order for a car’s heater to work properly, coolant must pass through the heater core. A fan will then blow onto the passenger’s side. When a radiator is clogged, the hot coolant will not get to the heater core to warm the passenger’s side.
If you have a radiator blockage, your engine is likely to overheat. It cost an average of $671 to get your radiator replaced.
Damage Caused by the Engine Overheating
An engine overheating can cause major harm to your car. Overheating can destroy the head gasket and even the entire engine.
The Head Gasket
The head gasket is a rectangular metal part that has four round holes in the center.
You will find it bolted to the top of the engine and located between the cylinder head and the engine block.
There are valves located inside the cylinder head which open and close. This allows air and fuel into the cylinders. It also expels the used exhaust gas. This gasket is essential because it seals the internal combustion activity of the engine. It prevents oil from mixing together with coolant as those fluids make their way between the engine block and the cylinder head.
A head gasket can blow due to the engine overheating. A car overheats when the metal of the head and block of the engine expands. When the metal expands, it might crush the head gasket.
Head gaskets can also fail when an engine is about to explode or explodes. Replacing a head gasket is extremely difficult work that requires a highly skilled mechanic. Head gaskets tend to go when the whole engine is ready to be replaced.
The gasket itself is not expensive at all, but the labor will take a long time. When a head gasket is blown, it can cost between $1,170 and $1,496. Most people will choose to replace their car rather than replace the gasket, as gaskets tend to blow at the end of a car’s life.
An overheated engine can cause major damage. Your car will start to overheat more and more frequently and pretty soon driving anywhere will take a long time. Your engine may catch on fire and that can cause injuries and death. Your engine may also be completely destroyed by a fire.
When your car overheats to the point where you cannot drive it, you will have to pay for towing. If you belong to AAA, you should be able to get it towed for free. If not, it will cost about $75 to get your car towed to the nearest mechanic.
The cost of a new engine for an average sedan may be as much as $3000 to $4000. If you have a luxury car, you can expect to pay twice that amount.
Finding a Good Mechanic
Regular maintenance is the best way to avoid having an overheated engine. If your engine is damaged, it is important to find a trustworthy mechanic to work on your car.
The best place to begin is on the AAA website. They have a list of approved mechanics that they can recommend to you. You can also check the shop’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. A reputable mechanic should be able to give you a written estimate on any repairs.
Don’t be shy about asking what kind of training a mechanic has and how long they have been on the job. Ask them where they will obtain the parts they will use and ask if they can get the parts through a junkyard. You may also want to call a scrap metal dealer to see if you can find the part yourself.
When to Sell Your Car
If you need to replace the engine or if you have to replace several of its components, it may be time to think about a new car. If you decide to replace your vehicle, you will have a few options for getting rid of the old one.
You could take the dealer trade-in. Dealerships may offer you a lot of money for your old clunker. However, they will simply add to the money they give you for your trade-in to the final price of your new car.
You could try to unload the car yourself, but that may take a long time. You must figure in the cost of advertising and the time it will take to show the vehicle to prospective buyers. You may not get the best price if you go this way.
Sell Your Vehicle to Us
Cash Car Buyers will give you a great price for your automobile and we will even tow it away for free. Just fill out our form or call us on the phone. You will answer a few questions about yourself and your car. We will want to know your name, Email address, and phone number. We will ask for the make, model and year of your vehicle. We will also need to know the VIN number of your car. We will make you an offer and if you accept that offer, we will arrange for a time to pick it up.
When our staff member arrives, they will give your car a quick inspection, hand you your cash, and tow it away. Give us a call today.