Eight Reasons Why Your Car Is Overheating

Why your vehicle is overheating isn’t as important as the fact that the vehicle is overheating. It doesn’t matter if you drive a car, truck, or utility vehicle, an overheating engine is a dangerous engine, and you should stop driving your automobile until the problem is located and fixed. What could be causing the engine to overheat? CAR FIX lists eight common problems associated with hot engine temperatures.


Coolant keeps your engine cool, but before you thank us for being Captain Obvious, it can also overheat your engine under certain circumstances. Low or no coolant will obviously overheat the engine, but the wrong coolant or coolant mixture for your vehicle can also cause a ton of trouble.


You might have the right coolant in the radiator system but your vehicle still overheats. In this case, the cause could be a radiator leak. The leak doesn’t have to come from the radiator itself. It could also come from the hoses, the overflow, the radiator cap, or any place where the seals have worn.

Water Pump

A faulty or broken water pump will also cause your engine to overheat. The water pump is what pushes the coolant through the engine so it can draw the heat from engine parts to keep temperatures down. The pump itself could be the problem or dirty coolant could clog the pump.


An old radiator can rust out eventually, leaving you with a messy leak and an overheated engine. Radiators are made of steel and steel corrodes. The corrosion takes time, however, so if you don’t drive a high-mileage vehicle, you should be okay, unless the radiator fan dies.


Motor oil works just as hard to prevent your engine from overheating as the cooling system does. If your oil is low, old, dirty, and/or has lost its viscosity, it cannot prevent heat-related friction. Too much friction will not only overheat the engine but could also cause complete engine seizure.


Your engine cooling system relies on a thermostat to release the engine coolant at the right time. If the thermostat is faulty, it might remain closed and never release the coolant to reduce your engine’s temperature. Naturally, your engine will overheat with too little or no coolant.

Belts or Hoses

Your cooling system has a series of belts and hoses. As you can imagine, the belts can break and the hoses can leak. Part of a cooling system maintenance check is to inspect the belts and hoses to ensure they are still in good shape. If they aren’t, your engine could overheat.

Heater Core

Finally, it might seem odd that the heater core could make your engine overheat but it does more than heat the cabin air in the winter. The heater core is also known as the heat exchanger unit, and a clogged unit will prevent coolant flow throughout the engine to cool it down.

Stop by CAR FIX in Oak Ridge, TN, as soon as you can if your engine is overheating. The sooner we find the problem and fix it the less chance of additional engine damage. 

Photo by Geckophotos from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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