Ask a Mechanic: Why is my car overheating?

Ask a Mechanic: Why is my car overheating? 

The harsh Queensland climate can be too much for your car, sometimes. Car overheating is common in very hot weather, although it's rare with more modern vehicles. In any case, we want to tell you why your car is overheating and how to fix it, just in case the changing climate puts you in a tricky situation. Usually, a car overheating in normal weather conditions is due to the following: Low levels of water and coolant levels in the radiator, or a leak in the cooling system. 

One day you might be driving around the city, stopping and starting often, or climbing a steep hill on a particularly hot day, and your dash will light up suddenly. Your car has lost its cool and you have to try to fix it to get to your next appointment. You should only stop your car overheating in a safe place. Always work on your car somewhere away from traffic and other hazards for your own safety. Once there, try some of these troubleshooting tips: 

How to Stop My Car Overheating When Driving 

As soon as you notice your car overheating, turn off your air conditioning and open the windows. We’ve all experienced the difference between driving up a steep hill with the air conditioning on and driving up the same hill with the air conditioning off. With the cold air off, there’s a smaller load on the engine and it's able to work more efficiently. Turning off your aircon when your car is overheating will help it cool off somewhat. 

If this doesn’t help, try turning the heater on and crank up the fan speed. This sounds strange, we know. But, it transfers heat from the engine to the inside of the car and usually helps to reduce heat around the engine. 

How to Stop My Car Overheating When Stationary 

If you're stuck in traffic and notice your car’s temperature gauge rising, put your car in neutral or park and rev the engine slightly. Doing so speeds up the water pump and fan speed, supporting the radiator function. Moving more air and water through the radiator should help cool the engine down. 

Go easy on the brakes in slow traffic. Rather than revving and braking sharply over and over again, crawl along very slowly at a little more than an idle. Braking repeatedly and harshly puts a bigger load on the engine and creates more heat - that’s not what you want if you suspect your car has an overheating problem! 

Car Overheating Emergency 

If you think that your car is about to boil over, indicate and pull over to the side of the road. Only exit your car when it’s safe to do so, making sure that traffic is far enough away from you. Pop the hood and wait until it cools down. Don’t add water to the engine until it is cool again, and refrain from touching anything that you don’t understand. Warning: many car components get hot when driving. Beware of what you touch and avoid burns. 

Car Overheating Repeatedly 

If you are sick and tired of your car overheating and none of these quick fixes seems to work, you might want to call a professional mechanic. A skilled technician will be able to diagnose any underlying issues with your car and make good recommendations based on your unique circumstances. Reach out to us for more advice or to book your car in for a service. 

Posted in Latest Posts on May 15, 2021.