overheated engine

How to Troubleshoot When Your Engine Overheats

overheated engineThere was once a guy. Let’s call him Steve. He owned a BMW convertible. One day as he was driving his Beemer home from work, the engine light came on. Steve kept on driving. Then the engine shut off. Steve restarted the car, ignoring the temperature gauge, and kept driving.

The engine shut off again. Again he restarted the car and kept driving. He did this a few times until he heard loud bang come from his engine. The engine died and he could not start it again. When he looked inside, the plastic hose to the radiator had busted clean in half.

Don’t be like Steve. Actually, notice when something is wrong with your engine.

But once you notice, you need to figure out what’s wrong. Let’s look at how to do that and at a few things that might be wrong.

1. A Plugged Radiator

Most people would assume that it’s your radiator gone bad if your car overheats. And a lot of times that’s exactly what it is.

If you don’t have enough heavy-duty coolant in your engine either due to a leak or evaporation, your engine is bound to overheat.

But one of the other common ways a radiator breaks down is through blockage.

You see, your car or truck radiator is a type of heat exchanger. They way they pull the heat away from your engine is by running liquid to and from the engine block. This liquid has to flow or the system won’t cool your engine.

You’re not going to be able to fix this one on your own. It has to be done by a specialist. The best case scenario is a steam-cleaning. The worst case scenario is replacement.

2. Low Oil Level

Engines can seize up and die. This doesn’t have anything to do with the vehicle’s electrical system like it would in a human. It has everything to do with the lifeblood of the engine. The oil.

If you don’t change your oil, little particles of the engine’s metal and dust and dirt make the oil less effective. Eventually, the oil just breaks down and quits lubricating your engine. Once this happens your engine overheats and the pistons get stuck.

If your engine is overheating, check the oil. If there is little to no oil on the stick then add fresh oil. If the oil is black instead of golden like honey, then change the oil.

3. Slipping Accessory Belt

Accessory belts are made of rubber typically. And after a time rubber breaks down and begins to fall apart. Before this happens, accessory belts can stretch out.

This belt drives the water pump to your engine. The water pump helps move the coolant through the engine. If it stops working correctly, your engine can’t cool and it overheats.

Your accessory belt should have no more than 1/2 an inch of “give”. If it’s loose or frayed, replace it. This is possible to do by yourself. But some engines put the belt in an awkward spot. You may have to remove parts of the engine to get to it. In that case, take your vehicle to a specialist.

Your engine overheating is really a simple matter. But it’s also a serious one that you should fix right away.