If you're wondering, “why would a car overheat if it has coolant?” The problem might be related to a bad radiator, faulty coolant hose, damaged water pump, or bad temperature gauge.
Engine overheating is one of the worst enemies that might face your vehicle. When the engine temperature exceeds the maximum threshold, there is a very high chance that you might end up with a completely damaged engine.
Although low coolant is the primary cause for engine overheating in many vehicles, other possible culprits might cause your vehicle to overheat even if it has sufficient coolant.
Learning about all other reasons for engine overheating besides the low coolant is critical for every driver. This article walks you through all potential culprits that might cause engine overheating and highlights their expected repair costs along with symptoms of bad parts that helps you detect the problem early to save on repair costs.
How does the cooling system work in your vehicle?
Before we dive into the details about “why would a car overheat if it has coolant?” First, we must understand how the cooling process works in your vehicle. This way, you'll get an idea about what could go wrong that could cause your engine to overheat other than the low coolant.
In any vehicle equipped with a combustion engine, it produces a lot of energy and heat, causing its temperature to exceed maximum thresholds. When the engine's temperature exceeds the maximum point, other systems require some help to bring its temperature to the operable level.
Luckily, your vehicle is equipped with several components and systems that work together to drop the engine’s temperature to where it should be. The cooling system is the primary system that consists of the following components:
1. The coolant
Coolant is the primary fluid in your car responsible for running around the engine as its temperature gets higher than a maximum threshold.
2. The water pump
The water pump is responsible for pumping coolant with a certain pressure to run around the engine at the right speed, so your engine temperature cools down. Without a perfectly working water pump, coolant will not have the right pressure level. Therefore, it might be slower than it should, which could lead to significant engine overheating issues.
3. The thermostat
The thermostat works like a monitor or a valve responsible for allowing the coolant to run around the engine when needed. In other words, the coolant does not run continuously around the engine when the engine temperature is not high. Therefore, the thermostat receives a certain signal from your vehicle's computer telling it that the engine temperature exceeded the maximum threshold. Hence, the thermostat allows the coolant to run through the valve and bring the engine temperature down.
4. The hoses
Coolant leads certain hoses to run through to reach the engine at the right time we need it. These hoses are designed from a specific material that withstands hot coolant as it comes back extremely hot from the engine temperature.
5. The radiator
The radiator is a core component in any vehicle's cooling system. It is responsible for cooling the coolant temperature down once it comes back hot from the engine. In other words, as the coolant runs around the engine, its temperature increases gradually until it gets to a point where it can't drop the engine temperature anymore. That's when the coolant goes back to the radiator and drops its temperature, so it's ready to run around the engine again and cool down.
With so many components making up the cooling system, there is a very high chance that any of the mentioned components can go bad and cause significant issues in the cooling process resulting in engine overheating.
Why would a car overheat if it has coolant?
As we indicated earlier, one of the primary causes for engine overheating is low coolant level. When the vehicle does not have enough coolant, the engine temperature will continue increasing significantly until you reach a point where your engine completely fails.
Although that's the common situation for engine overheating problems, there are plenty of other culprits that might cause the problem, including:
1. Bad water pump
As indicated before, the water pump needs to be in good condition to pump coolant with the right pressure around the engine. Therefore, it's not surprising to deal with a damaged water pump over time of use, meaning that your vehicle needs a water pump replacement.
You must pay attention to some of the common symptoms of a bad water pump so we can detect the problem early and prevent significant damages :
- Engine overheating
- Coolant leaks
- Signs of corrosion around the water pump
- Strange whining and noises
Once you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, you must consult your mechanic and install a new one if needed. Keep in mind that water pump replacement costs range from $461 to $638, including labor and parts costs.
2. Faulty thermostat
If the thermostat doesn't work properly, the whole cooling process gets impacted. Thermostats can go bad in many different ways, but not all of them lead to engine overheating. For example, if the thermostat gets stuck open, your engine will continuously run at cold temperatures, which is still not a good condition. Still, it's not as bad as running at very high temperatures.
On the other hand, with the thermostat gets stuck closed, that's when you have to be concerned because it means that the engine will continuously overheat without any help from the coolant. After all, the bad thermostats block it.
Some of the common symptoms of a bad thermostat include:
- Engine overheating
- Weird erratic temperature gauge readings
- Coolant leaks
Once you notice any of the mentioned symptoms of a bad thermostat, you must go ahead and replace it immediately to prevent damaging your vehicle. Typically, thermostat replacement costs range from $200 to $300.
3. Clogged hoses
Since the hoses are the primary pathways for coolant to run and reach the engine when these hoses get clogged, the coolant won't reach the engine, and your engine will continue overheating. Therefore, you must keep an eye for any symptoms indicating clogged hoses, which include:
- Engine overheating
- Coolant leaks
- The front coolant color
- Problematic water pump
- Erratic temperature gauge readings
Again, if you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, you must have your mechanic inspect the car and care for faulty components. For example, clogged hoses typically do not require hoses replacements. Still, they might need a radiator flush, which means that the mechanic takes out the old coolant and clears out the pathways before installing and adding new coolant.
A typical radiator flush costs between $54 and $144. Keep in mind that this price might heavily depend on your vehicle's type and location. We will get the job done. Since radiator flush is not a complicated job, experts recommend doing it at a small independent shop.
4. Damaged radiator
Finally, a damaged radiator prevents the coolant from cooling down as it gets hot from the engine. As a result, coolant can help the engine drop its temperature to a certain point, but it cannot continue doing the job.
Many signs are indicating a bad radiator, including:
- Engine overheating
- Coolant leaks
- Radiator sludge building up
- Low coolant levels
Again, if you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, as important to you have your mechanic inspect the radiator to confirm it's in good condition. Radiator replacement is slightly expensive, and it might range from $292 to $1193.
As you might already notice, most bad cooling system components symptoms include engine overheating and potentially coolant leaks. Therefore, once you notice any of these symptoms, you cannot immediately tell which component is going bad, and that's why your mechanic needs to take a closer look at all the components making up the cooling system to determine the real culprit.
Is it worth fixing car overheating?
It depends. As you might notice, some engine overheating problems might require slight repairs and won't cost you a lot of money, while others might need significantly high repair costs.
For example, suppose all that you're dealing with is just a drop in your coolant level. In that case, you can top off the coolant without needing a professional mechanic to help you do the job because it's something simple enough, and all that it takes is just buying the right amount of coolant and understanding how much you need to add.
On the other hand, if your problem must deal with a faulty radiator, for instance, then that's where you want to evaluate the situation and understand whether it's worth it or not. According to experts, you need to add up all required repair costs and compare them to the vehicle's overall value. If he realized that the vehicle's repair costs are close to 75% or more from your vehicle's value, it is not recommended, and you'd better sell the car and use its money towards a better vehicle.
Many people wonder who in the world will buy a vehicle with overheating problems. The good news is that cash cars buyer is a limited company that guarantees to wire vehicles even if it has overheating problems. On the other hand, gas cars buyer bought thousands of vehicles with completely damaged engines, not only those with engine overheating issues. Therefore, we encourage you to reach out to our customer service by giving us a call at 866-924-4608.
What to do if your car overheats and it has coolant?
If you got into a situation where your vehicle started overheating, and you know for sure that you had sufficient coolant, it is recommended that you follow these steps:
- Find a safe area to pull over and stop your vehicle
- Allow your engine to cool down by turning it off for at least 30 minutes
- Do not attempt to open the hood or look at the coolant because it can be extremely hot
- Take a second look at the coolant level because you might be having an internal or external coolant leak that dropped the coolant level below the minimum threshold.
- Top off the coolant if needed
If this did not help, give your mechanic and check with him if you can drive the vehicle to the nearest shop or not. In some scenarios, wind coolant overheating is very severe, you might not be able to drive the vehicle, and instead, you must make it to the nearest shop.
Why Would A Car Overheat If It Has Coolant: Conclusion
Engine overheating is not a real problem, and when it happens, it results in significant catastrophic outcomes like engine damages. Therefore, understanding all potential reasons for engine overheating is extremely useful for any driver to prevent high repair costs.
While most engine overheating problems are linked to low coolant levels when your car overheats if it has coolant, the problem might be related to a bad water pump, clogged hoses, faulty radiator, or damaged thermostat. Therefore, whenever you notice any symptoms of engine overheating, you must consult your mechanic and have him replace the faulty component.
As we explained in this article, if your engine overheating problems are linked to expensive repair costs, it might not be worth your time and money for this investment. Instead, experts recommend that you sell your car to reduce the headache and buy a car that does not have any problem.
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