All engines are built to withstand a certain level of heat, but when it gets too hot it can cause problems. This can include damage to the cooling system or other vital parts of the engine.
The temperature gauge on your dashboard is one of the best ways to tell if your engine is overheating. Ideally, it should sit somewhere between 195 and 220 degrees.
Check the Radiator
The radiator is one of the most important parts of your car’s cooling system. It essentially works to cool the water and antifreeze in your engine, while venting excess heat.
Radiators are made out of a number of materials, including copper or brass, aluminum and plastic. Older radiators were primarily made of copper, because copper is the second best metal for conducting heat, which makes it ideal for cooling engines.
Modern radiators are typically made of aluminum and plastic, which are lighter and cheaper to manufacture. However, over time these materials can start to brittle and crack.
A quick visual inspection of the radiator should give you a clue as to whether or not you have a cracked radiator. If you see a caked-up crust of coolant or puddle under your car, this is an indication of a leak that will likely require replacement.
Check the Thermostat
The thermostat is the device that regulates the flow of coolant into your car’s radiator. It responds to changes in temperature by opening or closing a small valve.
If your thermostat is not working properly, the engine could overheat quickly. This can lead to serious damage to your engine and other parts of the cooling system.
A common sign that a thermostat is failing is the temperature gauge reading too high after your vehicle has been running for several minutes. This means that coolant is not flowing into the engine because the thermostat is stuck in the closed position.
To check your thermostat, remove the radiator hoses from your engine and drain the coolant into a bucket. Then, use an infrared thermometer to test the temperature of your engine and radiator hoses.
Check the Coolant
Your car needs a coolant system to keep the engine running. The liquid is often green or red and contains chemicals that stop it freezing in sub-zero temperatures and prevents corrosion damage inside the engine.
Your coolant level can be checked by looking at the plastic overflow bottle attached to the radiator in front of the car. It will have two markings: Low and High, which tell you how much coolant is in the system.
If the level is below the Low or High marks, you will need to top it up with new coolant.
There are many different brands of coolant and you should always check the label to make sure it is correct for your car. Some come pre-mixed with antifreeze and ready to use, while others need to be diluted with water first.
Check the Cooling System
The cooling system is responsible for removing heat from your car’s engine. Overheating can lead to serious issues such as radiator cracks, warped engine parts and blown head gaskets.
The system is essentially a closed circuit that uses pressurized water to cool the engine and its components. The water is mixed with a coolant, which provides antifreeze protection and increases the boiling point of the water to help protect engine parts and the cooling system from corrosion.
One way to check if the cooling system is working properly is by pressure testing the radiator cap. To do this, attach a pressure tester to the radiator cap and pump the unit until it holds its rated pressure.