Why Is My Car Overheating?

You’re driving along and your car begins to overheat. This has been happening a lot lately and you know how dangerous it can be to continue driving. Problem is, you need to get to work. What’s going on? You’re faithful about getting vehicle maintenance done and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with your engine. Why is your car overheating? Ideal Automotive lists several possibilities.

Cooling System Leak

It could be that your engine’s cooling system has sprung a leak. Your radiator is metal and it can rust over time. That rust will eat a hole in the radiator. If you notice orange fluid leaking onto your garage floor, it could be engine coolant that has turned orange due to rust. Leaks can also come from the cooling system hoses, head gasket, heater core, freeze plugs, and water pump.

Wrong Coolant

Your vehicle’s cooling system was engineered for a specific coolant type and if you have the wrong type in the system, your vehicle might overheat. You might also be tempted to refill your cooling system reservoir with water instead of the proper coolant/water mixture when it runs low. This can actually create an imbalance of coolant and water and cause your engine to overheat.


Your engine’s thermostat tells the cooling system to circulate coolant through the motor once it reaches a certain temperature. If the thermostat is failing, it might not signal the coolant release at the right time and your engine will get too hot. An automobile engine runs from 195 degrees to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything hotter than that means the engine is overheating.

Radiator Fan

Another thing that will cause your engine to overheat is a bad radiator fan. This fan draws air into the engine and blows it across the radiator to help keep the engine coolant cool. Basically, coolant runs through the engine to absorb heat and then returns to the radiator where it cools down. If the fan isn’t working properly, it won’t be able to help reduce the engine coolant temperature.

Water Pump

Finally, the engine’s water pump helps move the coolant through the engine and if it is wearing down or dead the engine coolant will sit stagnant. The water pump can erode over time just as the radiator does, and it can also spring leaks. In either of these scenarios, the coolant system’s operation is compromised, which can cause your engine to overheat. 

Bring your car, truck, or SUV into Ideal Automotive in Blaine, MN, if it’s overheating. 


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