Internal combustion engines tend to generate a lot of heat as they are operating, so cooling techniques are necessary to avoid damage being caused. While an engine is running, there are two ways in which it cools down and sometimes these can fail, causing the engine to overheat.
One cooling technique is that the engine is exposed to coolant fluid, also known as engine coolant and antifreeze. This fluid is specially formulated to regulate and cool down the temperature and also, it helps to prevent rust, corrosion and scale deposits from building up in the engine.
Furthermore, if an engine begins to get too hot, engine oil acts as a coolant too. This is because as the oil is lubricating all the engine components, the heat created is transferred to the oil, which then passes through a heat exchanger, such as the radiator. Essentially, if there is enough coolant and oil flowing through your engine, the right temperature will be maintained.
There are, however, other problems that could arise which may affect the cooling liquids and hinder them from carrying out their purpose. There could be a leak present or a faulty engine component, which could cause the engine to become too hot. If you ever find that your engine is overheating, you should avoid driving your vehicle, as it is dangerous and you could cause some serious damage.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of Engine Overheating?
There are five main symptoms of an overheated engine. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek professional help to prevent further damage to your car.
Red Temperature Gauge – Your car should have a temperature gauge on its dashboard, which tells you the engine coolant temperature. If there is excessive heat in your engine, the needle on the gauge will appear in the red area.
Temperature Warning Light – The temperature gauge usually just blends into the dashboard and many don’t pay attention to it unless something motivates them! In the event that your engine is overheating, the temperature light will illuminate on the dashboard and this will signal you to check the temperature gauge to check which area the needle is in.
Steam Coming From Your Bonnet – When there is too much heat in the engine, steam will come from the front of your vehicle. If you have a damaged radiator and it fails to cool the coolant down, the coolant will become excessively hot. It then starts to boil which can cause steam to form and escape through the bonnet.
Burning Smell From Engine – Due to the engine being composed of components made from various materials, such as metal, rubber seals and plastic valves, they will begin to burn when your engine overheats. You may notice a burning or ‘hot’ smell and you will be able to smell it throughout the whole car. Burning oil will also cause a distinctive odour. As soon as you notice this scent, you will need to get your engine looked at as soon as possible.
Poor Engine Performance – An engine that has overheated or is prone to overheating will not be able to function properly while being driven. The acceleration will be weak and if you try to demand more power from your engine, it will not be able to provide it. All the symptoms above are also considered as poor engine performance.
What Are The Common Causes Of Engine Overheating?
Below are the top five causes of an overheating engine. When you can begin to understand the causes, you can fix the problems straight away. With problems related to your vehicle, it is always important to fix them sooner rather than later, otherwise, further damage may be caused and you’ll end up with costly repair bills.
Leaking Coolant – When your engine is running, it depends on coolant to absorb any excess heat that is being created. This cooling system consists of a water pump, thermostat, coolant hoses, a radiator, radiator cap and a head gasket. If any of these components become faulty or are too worn, there is a risk of coolant leaking out of them, resulting in an overheated engine.
Clogged Hoses – If your engine is overheated but there is no coolant leak you may have a clogged coolant hose; this might happen when some dirt or particles from the road have got into the hose. This will restrict the coolant from flowing through the engine properly.
Bad Water Pump – The water pump is a component that circulates the coolant fluid around the engine. If the water pump is faulty or worn, coolant may leak from it and in turn, cause the engine to overheat. You will need to have your impeller vanes or bump shaft checked, as these are usually the components responsible for water pump issues.
Faulty Radiator – As the coolant is flowing through the radiator, it is cooled and ready to re-cycle the engine to absorb more excess heat. If the radiator component in the engine is faulty, then the liquid will always stay hot, which in turn keeps the engine hot. A faulty fan in the radiator component will prevent the hot air from leaving, so this could also be a possible fault causing the engine to overheat. Other potential causes could be leaks or a clogged radiator.
Wrong Coolant – If you put the wrong type of coolant liquid in your vehicle, it won’t be able to keep the engine cool and prevent it from overheating. If you have your vehicle checked by a professional and there are no faulty components or leaks, then this might be the issue if you have recently put new coolant fluid in your car. Seek professional help if you have done this, as you will need to flush the entire cooling system and then put the correct fluid back into the system.
If your car is overheating or you have a faulty component that is causing your engine to overheat, such as an oil leak, a faulty water pump or a coolant level problem, it is a good idea to have your vehicle checked by a professional. Engine overheating problems can cause a wide range of further issues which you may not able to fix in the long run.
If your vehicle is suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, book your vehicle in with Power Steering Services today. We can diagnose the problem and provide the necessary repairs or replacements, so either fill in our easy online form or call us on 0208 853 3343!