Last Updated on 11 months by Ollie Barker
If you’re having trouble getting your vehicle’s engine to stop overheating, it may be a sign that something needs to be fixed. The following blog post will go into detail about what could cause a car’s engine to overheat and the consequences, as well as how an overheated engine can affect the environment and those around it.
What causes an engine to overheat?
The first step is knowing why your vehicle’s engine is overheating. There are a number of different factors that could lead to this problem not all of which are caused by environmental issues or driver error.
In most instances, if you find that you’re experiencing overheating issues, it’s because the coolant circulating through your radiator has gotten too hot and needs to be cooled down. Overheating can also happen when a hose on your radiator freezes and then bursts, sending all the fluid out onto the road.
There could be a technical problem with your engine or radiator for example. Also, a quick trip around town or a long road trip can sometimes lead to an overheated engine.
Engine overheating can also arise due to simple mistakes as well. A head gasket could be leaking at a slow pace, which could cause the heat to build up over time making your engine overheat.
Another reason why your vehicle’s engine may overheat is due to poor maintenance of the vehicle as well as poor installation of parts. To see if you have a faulty part, it’s important to take note of what the temperature gauge on your dashboard is reading.
Engine overheating consequences
#1 Blown head gasket
If you find that in a matter of a few days your engine is overheating, there could be the possibility of a blown head gasket.
A head gasket is a tight seal located between the engine block and the cylinder. Its functions include cooling the cylinder head and helping to lubricate the cylinder. A blown head gasket can cause oil/coolant leaks or your engine to damage or break.
If a head gasket is leaking, you’ll likely notice that your oil gauge and coolant level on the dashboard are going down. Over time the head gasket will be unable to effectively cool your engine.
#2 Warped cylinder
Cylinder heads are usually made of aluminum and this material is very sensitive to temperature. If they are exposed to heat for a long time, they’ll start to warp. Cylinder walls are thin and the lower parts of the cylinder head are made of aluminum. When these parts get too hot, they may start to warp or melt. Warping can lead to cracks in your cylinder head that over time can lead to it breaking apart.
Moreover, the warped cylinder can lead to other issues such as oil leak, blown gasket, or burning the engine bay.
#3 Engine detonation
Engine overheating is one of the common causes of detonation. Cars with aluminum engines can be prone to heat buildup, which can lead to detonation.
Different cars will have different detonation thresholds but typically carburetors and intake manifolds are the first parts to be affected by this phenomenon. The combustion process between fuel and air occurs at certain temperatures which are dependent on the quality of fuel used. When the combustion temperature reaches a certain point, it triggers detonation. If the problem is not taken care of immediately, it can lead to engine destruction and possible serious damage to other vehicle parts.
#4 Exhaust damage
Heat can damage the exhaust system including the catalytic converter and the manifold.
Fail catalytic converter: An overheating engine can cause the catalytic converter to fail because it can heat up to extremely high temperatures. A catalytic converter is a device that breaks down harmful components found in gasoline (hydrocarbons) into simpler compounds that can then be burned.
Exhaust manifold leaks: Another part of the engine that is commonly prone to overheat is the exhaust manifold, which is the conical device through which your vehicle’s exhaust gas passes on its way out of your car. Overheating can cause cracks in the manifold. These cracks in the exhaust system can allow harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and nitrogen oxide to leak into your car’s engine bay, which can seriously damage your car’s environment and make it a safety hazard.
In a nutshell, overheating and overheating issues should be taken seriously by drivers.
There are a number of reasons why overheating can happen. To prevent this from occurring, you need to check the vehicle’s oil level and fluid level, as well as make sure the vehicle is well maintained.
You should also make sure that the radiator cap is properly sealed so that access to the coolant can be easily obtained during an emergency situation like a car breakdown.