Seaside Auto Repair

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Why Is My Car Overheating?

Why Is My Car Overheating? 

Common Causes and How to Prevent Them

Hey everyone, it's Stacey from Wayside Garage! Today, we're tackling a question we often get: "Why is my car overheating?" Jonathan and I recently worked on a Ford Escape with this issue, and we found some interesting things that we want to share with you. Let's dive into the details and learn how to prevent overheating in your vehicle.

Common Causes of Overheating:

1. Broken Belts:
In the case of the Ford Escape, we discovered a broken belt. The customer initially heard a belt noise but didn't think much of it. This belt drives crucial components like the water pump, which circulates coolant through the engine. When the belt broke, the water pump stopped working, leading to overheating. 

2. Faulty Water Pump:
The squealing noise the customer heard was actually the water pump starting to fail. A water pump on its way out can seize up, preventing proper coolant circulation. This highlights the importance of regular fluid checks and vehicle inspections.

3. Low Coolant Levels:
Coolant is essential for keeping your engine at the right temperature. If your coolant levels are low, it can lead to overheating. This can happen due to leaks in the radiator, hoses, or the coolant reservoir.

4. Radiator Issues:
A clogged or damaged radiator can also cause your car to overheat. The radiator helps dissipate heat from the engine, and any obstruction can prevent it from functioning properly.

5. Thermostat Failure:
The thermostat regulates the flow of coolant through the engine. If it gets stuck in the closed position, it prevents coolant from circulating, causing the engine to overheat.

6. Blocked Hoses:
Hoses that are blocked or have collapsed can prevent coolant from flowing freely through the engine and radiator, leading to overheating.

7. Fan Problems:
The cooling fan helps draw air through the radiator when the car is not moving fast enough to cool itself naturally. If the fan isn't working correctly, it can cause the engine to overheat, especially in stop-and-go traffic.

Why Regular Maintenance Is Crucial:
Regular maintenance can prevent these small issues from becoming major problems. At Wayside Garage, we recommend having your vehicle inspected at least once a year, but every six months is even better. Regular inspections help catch issues early, saving you from costly repairs and keeping you safe on the road.

Key Maintenance Tips:

  • Oil & Filter Service: Changing your oil and filter every 5,000 miles or six months keeps your engine running smoothly and prevents overheating.
  • Cooling System Checks: Inspecting your cooling system every 30,000 miles or every three years ensures your water pump and coolant levels are in good condition.
  • Belt and Hose Inspections: Regularly check and replace belts and hoses as needed to prevent breakdowns and overheating.
  • Radiator Maintenance: Make sure your radiator is clean and free from obstructions to maintain optimal cooling performance.
  • Thermostat Testing: Regularly test your thermostat to ensure it opens and closes at the right temperatures.

Addressing minor issues like a squealing belt early can prevent major damage like an overheating engine. Our ASE-certified technicians at Wayside Garage are here to keep your vehicle in top shape. Call us at 831-899-2425.

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