How do you know if your car is overheating? When your engine is operating properly, it generates a lot of heat. This means that the hood of your vehicle will be hot to the touch, especially if you run your car for long periods of time. So, how do you know if your car is overheating to the point that you need to take some sort of action?
You understand that if you let a problem go, it can create more serious (and expensive) issues. But if you don't know there's a problem in the first place, how can you take preventive action now that will keep you from experiencing costly and inconvenient repairs in the future?
Your vehicle is equipped with an engine temperature gauge. This will almost always be located somewhere on your dashboard. In most cases, there will be an area marked in red that shows a danger zone. When the needle gets into this area, your vehicle's engine is hotter than it should be.
Engine Overheating Can Happen for a Number of Reasons
Obviously, your car will run hotter when it is hot outside. Because you live in Sherman, Texas or the surrounding area, this means you need to keep a close eye on your engine's temperature gauge in the summer. You could also have a water or coolant level that is too low in your radiator.
Another reason for your engine overheating is a cooling fan that isn't working. This is a relatively easy problem to spot. If you notice your temperature gauge creeping up on you, pull off of the road. Pop your hood and take a look at the fan. This is almost always located on or near the radiator at the front of your car.
If the fan blades are not turning while your car is running, you have a problem. Sometimes your fan will work to some degree, but the blades won't be turning quickly enough.
There are a couple of situations that may cause your fan to work improperly, or stop altogether. If your radiator switch goes, a perfectly fine fan doesn't know when to come on. When it works properly, your radiator switch tells the fan to switch on when your car's engine reaches a certain temperature.
You also may have a bad electric fan. Turning on your air-conditioning unit will sometimes force the fan into action. You could also disconnect the wiring harness from your radiator fan switch. Run a jumper wire from both contacts and see if your fan comes on. (This is not suggested unless you have an extremely good knowledge of automobile repair and engines.)
You may also have a leak somewhere in your cooling system, a hose clamp has chewed through an old hose, or a thermostat needs to be replaced. In all of these cases, getting the job taken care of as soon as possible is absolutely critical. Left to its own devices, an engine that cannot cool itself can cause internal parts to break down.
This means replacing your entire engine, and possibly other parts. All this can be avoided if you practice preventive maintenance. We would be happy to give your car's engine cooling system a check to ensure that a small problem doesn't turn into an expensive car repair project.