Overheating (Engines)

Engine overheating can be a common problem, but it has a variety of causes. It is good to know how to troubleshoot your overheating issues, as well as what to do when it happens.

765 Questions
Antifreeze and Engine Coolant
Thermostats
Ford Windstar GL
Overheating (Engines)

Why would a car overheat if there's plenty of coolant?

You got those 3.8 (60,000-80,000 miles) Blues. Could be a thermostat. Are you going through coolant? If so, the technician is probably right. The 3.8 motor wants head gaskets every 70,000 miles or so. Plan on machining the head flat again too. If you are not going through coolant, it would sound more like a thermostat or possible blockage in the system.

Answer

Check the condition of the radiator, the water pump, the thermostat, and the pressure cap. I had a similar problem with my 1991 Chevy Cavalier (4 cyl, 2.2L). When all is well it normally runs about 180-200 degrees F (the electric fan clicks on at about 200 and shuts off at 180, fan runs continuously w/AC on). Because I neglected to flush the system for about 3 years, the radiator clogged and the water pump was on the way out (all but three of the blades had eroded away). The car was running 230 degrees (about 3/4 of the way up the gauge). Even after the water pump was replaced, it still ran hot even though the T-stat and cap were ok and there was plenty of coolant. I flushed out the system and replaced the radiator. This cured the problem instantly. Running temp fell from 230F to 180F (about 1/4 of the way up the temp gauge on my car). I don't know many particular problems that occur with '90 Cougars, but these are several generic problems that cause overheating. Check the T-stat by removing it and boiling it in water on the stove. If it is good you will see it open as the water temp in the pan increases. While the t-stat is out of the engine, start it and run it for the length of time it takes for it to overheat. If the t-stat is the problem, with it removed, the temp gauge won't even lift off the peg. (Don't run the engine without a thermostat longer than it takes to verify the problem). Also check water flow through the system by warming up the engine with the cap off and looking into the radiator fill pipe. With the engine at running temp, there should be a strong water flow out of the tubes (water turbulence for a vertical radiator). Also make sure the fan works.

Answer

Bear in mind that any air (as well as gunk) trapped in the coolant lines will cause overheating, particularly higher up around the head gasket. This overheating can definitely cause warping and result in a blown gasket. This is especially common in cars with aluminum head gaskets. (I don't know how the Cougar was designed.) Always "burp" your coolant system after flushing.

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Heating AC and Engine Cooling
Overheating (Engines)

Would a car overheat if left in park with the AC on?

It can if their is something wrong with the cooling system.

145146147
Thermostats
Overheating (Engines)

What would make your car overheat if the thermostat is good?

If your car has cooling fans, make sure they are working correctly. Make sure the radiator isn't leaking and not restricted either on the inside or in front on the outside. Caution: Always disconnect the negative battery cable before putting you hands into a vehicles engine compartment. Caution: When the engine is hot be very careful not to touch hot engine parts. If your not sure what your doing get help from a pro. First when the engine is cold check the radiator and make sure it is topped off with coolant. Reply: This could be caused from a number of reasons and it is helpful to give more information about the car like make model and year. Let me explain there are at least two ways of cooling the radiator. Some cars have an electric fan that is controlled by a thermostatic switch normally located near the bottom of the rad when the car gets to a certain temp the fan will come on and cool the radiator and when cool shut off. Other cars have a fan driven by a belt from the engine in the center of this fan there is a thermostatically controlled clutch which detects the air being drawn thru the rad when the air is to hot the clutch will cause the fan to turn more drawing more cool air thru the rad. When the air coming thru the rad is cool enough the clutch will allow the fan to slip or free wheel. If either type of thermostatically controlled switch goes bad the car will overheat at idle. The car cools down while driving because the cool air is forced thru the rad. Please do not confuse this thermostatic switch with the heater/engines thermostat. I personally would check or take the car to someone qualified to check for a bad electrically controlled thermostatic type of switch on cars with electric cooling fans. On cars that are driven by a belt I would check the fan belt for slippage and the fan clutch it self when engine is cold for oil leakage or when rocked for excessive bearing play and spin the fan by hand to make sure it turns freely then start the engine and allow it to run until the heater is putting out hot air next turn the engine off and spin the fan again the fan should be harder to turn as if there is a drag on it if not I would replace the fan clutch. Electrically operated fans: Parts to check fuses, electric fan motor or thermostatic switch, or an electrical problem. Fan Belt Driven fans: bad broken or slipping belts, thermostatically controlled fan clutch, and cracked or broken fan blades. Check both type systems for a blockage in the radiator core such as bugs dirt leaves. Last but not least if the core if self is clogged internally you might need to flush the system and or have the system pressure checked including the cap. PS Many people on accident put the heater/engine thermostat in backwards this will cause many problems This thermostat is like a one way valve and must be installed in the correct direction.

113114115
Thermostats
Heater Cores and Blower Fans
Car Heaters
Overheating (Engines)

Why would the car overheat but no hot air come from the heater?

You didnt say if the water pump was changed. No hot air means no circulation.

AnswerBrittany, You have 2 symptoms of a larger problem. It is like you said "I have a terrible headache and black eye." What happened was you missed the ball and it cracked you in the head.

Anyways, Coolant is a fluid that keeps a car from getting too hot among other things. If there is low coolant the car will overheat. When the coolant ciculates through the engine it will also go through a thing in the dash that is like a small radiator called a heater core. A fan or blower move air through this part and pushes the hot air from the heater core into the passenger compartment. This heater core is usually the highest point of the coolant flow. Since fluid seeks it's lowest level, the heater core is the first to lose the hot coolant. Therefore your blower blows accross a cold heater core and gives you cold air.

If you don't have a leak, then when the thermostat was replaced, the coolant may have not been bled of the air in the system.

I would first fill the coolant and check for any leaks first. There is a common problem with the Buick centuries if you have a 3.1 motor. The intake manifold gasket is common for leaking.

In any event, don't run the engine if it goes into the red. Overheating can cause headgasket problems. See othe posts regarding this issue.

Let me know how you make out.

AnswerGlad to hear your problem was resolved.

The heater core does not need to be removed to be checked. If the hose going into the heater core is hot and the one coming out is cold, the tells you it is retricted. Another way to verify is to remove the hoses going to the core, hook up one without installing into the car and run it. It should get hot-very hot, and then see how hot the hose is coming out of the core is like now.

AnswerIf this person that replaced the thermostat put it in backwards this could cause the car to overheat and the heater not to get hot. EzForJesus AnswerSimple - It is low on radiator fluid (water or anit-freeze).
104105106
Cars & Vehicles
Heating AC and Engine Cooling
Air Conditioning and Coolant
Toyota SR5
Overheating (Engines)

Why does a car overheat when using the AC and not moving?

to low on antifrezze, or air cond. compressor locked or locking-up, to low on water& antifrezze mix in ratiator, or fan clutch out, fan belt slipping, try the antifrezze amount mixed first and make sure the fluid is circulating good ,if not water pump or stuck thermostat

909192
Ford Probe
Ford Explorer Sport
DIY Projects
Overheating (Engines)

How do you fix engine overheating in a 1989 Ford Probe?

My best guess is that it is either a coolant fan relay or switch of some type. I have exactly the same problem and it left me on the freeway once or twice. The way I fixed it is i took some wire and ran it from the positive terminal into the cab of the car to a toggle switch, then two wires to the fans and then a wire to the negative terminal. When i connected the connection on one of the fans caught on fire so that didn't work for that one,but one of the fans did work and that was enough to get it the 200 miles back home and it has sat there ever since. I'm going to be working on this problem again here soon and if it is still a problem for you then E-mail me to let me know and i will E-mail you with what i find out. If you have found the solution by some other means then could you please E-mail me and let me know? Thank you.

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Engine overheating may be caused by many different things. First, ensure that there are adequate levels of coolant in the system, and that the system is flushed completely every now and then. I bought a Prestone flush kit from Kragen for around $12 (i think). All that's required is to splice into one of your hoses near the firewall, where you install the fitting, and screw on a garden hose to reverse flush the system. Timing may also contribute to heating, especially if it is too far advanced. As the previous poster stated, check to make sure that your cooling fan comes on once the engine warms up. Cooling fan is the one on the drivers side of the engine, the other fan is only for the air conditioning. If your fan doesnt come on, you may have a bad coolant fan switch, located on the thermostat housing, or a bad fan relay switch, located in the relay switch box on the firewall. Also check that your fuses are all ok. Im not sure, but there may be multiple fuses, ones under the dash on the driver side, and also in the front under the hood, near the right side next to the battery. Also replace your thermostat, which is at the engine end of the coolant hose coming from the top of the radiator, as these are usually only $8-$20, and if frozen, will cause overheating. Water pump can fail as well, which requires a little more work, and should be checked. Lastly, if there is a leak in the head gasket or cylinder head, it could cause back pressure into the cooling system, preventing it from working correctly, and/or burning coolant in the cylinders (this just happened to me, and I just replaced my cylinder head and all gaskets). Check to see if there is any white colored smoke coming from the tailpipe when the car is running, if there is, your cylinder head or gasket may be bad. Take off the radiator cap with the engine running (when its cool), and add water til its full, if the water/coolant continually splashes up from the radiator filler neck, then pressure is escaping from the cylinder head and/or cylinders into your cooling system. Another sign of blown head gasket or warped or cracked cylinder head. A compression checker may help to narrow the leak to a certain cylinder.Sorry for the novel, but hope it helps someone, as overheating can be frustrating to pin down sometimes.

-Shaun

838485
GM and GMC
Overheating (Engines)

Why would a 5.7L engine overheat intermittently in a 1989 Suburban after being rebuilt?

Answer

I had a 89 k1500 w a 5.7 L eng that had the same prob with out being rebuilt. turned out the head gasket was leaking and the coolent had air in it. the coolent was rust colored from the leak. you might also consider replacing the thermostat first and see if it will solve the problem. good luck

or replace radiator

if the cylinders are bored .060 over the cylinder walls are too thin. this will cause overheating.

838485
Pontiac Grand Am
Nissan Pathfinder
Ford E-150 Van
Grand Prix SE
Overheating (Engines)

Will having the radiator flushed make the engine run smoother and stop overheating on a 97 Pontiac Grand AM?

Flushing the radiator may help with the cooling problem but not necessarily make the engine run smoother. If it is a 6 cyliner engine check for a possible leaking lower intake manifold gasket. If the LIM gasket is bad, it may be leaking coolant into the oil and possibly into the cylinders. Also it may leak externally or it may leak internally. Go to http://www.gaoc.com for more info on this problem. If this is the case, it is a serious problem and you shouldn't drive the car until you get it fixed. I have owned these cars in one form or another since 1994 and the radiator leaves a lot to be desired. The radiator seems to clog very easily. So it requires a lot more maintenance that GM likes to admit. I have never had a problem with the thermostats and only had one water pump failure. I also have never had a problem with the fan but, like others have said, they should be checked as well GOOD LUCK!! Sometimes having the radiator flushed will help; however, it may be your themostat is sticking causing the motor to run hot. If this is the case, you should get a new themostat installed. Also check that the fan is running with the engine hot and in idle. The fans wear out may need replacement. It may also be the fan control circuit. I had that problem! Make sure your radiator cap is not missing the seal! Without the seal pressure is not kept in which will cause the engine to overheat! Simple problem, cheap fix!

838485
Toyota
Overheating (Engines)

Should engine Toyota Surf 1993 be Overheating when going up hills?

No it is likely you have a water pump problem. Also check the water lever in the radiator, and weather engine oil has been changed recently or not. These engines are also problem prone in the head gasket.

777879
Ford Escort
Overheating (Engines)

What causes the water temperature to overheat during stop-and-go driving in a 1991 Ford Escort?

electric cooling fan not working will cause this. Allow car to run and wacht the temp gauge, when it hits 225, it should have come on.

AnswerAlso, to force the engine fan on, turn on your air fan switch (air conditioning and heating. Doesn't have to be on the highest setting (#5), but as long as you switch it on, it will automatically turn of the fan motor. I had overheating problems myself once in my '94 LX, and that was a short cut to keep the temp down till I got where I was going. The problem I had was 2 fold, first the water temperature sensor went out and the last jerk mechanics didn't install the correct ratio of water/antifreeze mixture in the system. After finding a reliable mechanic, I trust them every year with good service for regular maintanence. Answeran add on to the answers, if you've had any service to the cooling system make sure there are no air in the system the engine will overheat.
737475
Heating AC and Engine Cooling
Heater Cores and Blower Fans
Car Heaters
Clouds
Overheating (Engines)

When it is below freezing why would a 1996 Neon engine indicator go up to overheating after about 20 minutes on the road and blow cold air?

check the thermostat to see if it is opening properly (you can remove it and place it in a pan of water on the stove and heatthe water until it opens oh yeah don't forget to use a thermometer to find out what temp. it was) you should also check your antifreeze mixture for accurracy(try that first) if none of these work try flushing your heater core to see if it is stopped up

This could be an indication that you do not have enough antifreeze. The car heater will not work when there is no liquid in it. also the car will overheat.

727374
Ford Thunderbird
Chevy Suburban
Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Grand Am SE
Overheating (Engines)

If you have a 1997 Ford Thunderbird 4.6 V8 that has been overheating could the problem be in the engine fan or the relay switch?

yes...fisrst you need to check if the temp sensor is working. If this has an electric fan, check the relay and the fan motors.

or

when my 97 4.6 v8 was overheating, it was leaking coolant from the head gaskets.

697071
Car Smells
Oil and Oil Filters
Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer
Combustion Engines
Overheating (Engines)

What is the smell of overheated engine oil when all other things are OK ie engine running normal temp?

If you have a small oil leak that gets a little oil on the exhaust manifold, it will cause a strong odor. Steam clean or pressure wash the engine then run it briefly to see if you see any new oil on from the rocker cover or anywhere else that might leak onto the manifold. http://www.autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?UseCase=S001&UserAction=viewSimpleDiagInfo&Parameters=info

656667
Heating AC and Engine Cooling
Head Gaskets and Valve Covers
Overheating (Engines)

How do you know if engine overheating has warped or cracked the heads or blown gasket?

You will have to remove the head, inspect the gasket for breaks, check the head for flatness, and have a machine shop test the head.

You will have to remove the head, inspect the gasket for breaks, check the head for flatness, and have a machine shop test the head.

434445
Head Gaskets and Valve Covers
Overheating (Engines)

Why does car overheat with blown head gasket?

I'm pretty sure your engine block needs a precise mixture of oxygen and gas etc and the gaskets on your heads are the main air tight place where when cracked or blown gaskets happen oxygen leaks into your expansion chamber in the engine and more oxygen higher explosion temp to push ur piston therefore your engine gets hotter faster new gasket will solve your problem I beliave if not thermostat and radiator

515253
Dodge Ram Van
Overheating (Engines)

Why does the engine overheat on a dodge ram van?

There are many good diet plans online that are absolutely free. At http://www.sparkpeople.com/landing_free_plus2011.asp?gclid=CLK4xdWohasCFQh0gwod_XZa0w, you can use absolutely free and sign up is fairly easy.

313233
Lincoln Continental
Lincoln LS
Lincoln Town Car
Overheating (Engines)

Why does your Lincoln ls 2001 engine overheat?

It may be due to a bad electric cooling fan. Replaced mine twice. Make sure the coolant level is not dropping. I experienced a leaking overflow tank that contributed to the problem. It's buried up under the cowl.

505152
Overheating (Engines)

Overheating the engine can cause what problems?

ive been through this before. seals can blow easier, and running the engine hotter will cause the gas to some what evaporate before it has time to explode, decreasing power. the only other problems i can think of would be burning your oil which causes it to get chunky and not lubricate properly, short term in an emergency, you might make it 2-3 miles with no coolant. before your engine blows. safely, maybe a mile if you coast for a while and are on high way not city. increasing rpms increases heat

495051
Heating AC and Engine Cooling
Thermostats
Ford Windstar GL
Overheating (Engines)

Why would a car overheat when the defrost is on?

The defrost selection cycles the AC pump, regardless of what temperature you are choosing to defrost at. This cycles the freon, and cools the evaporator (inside dash), and heats up the condenser (in front of radiator) I would check for 1. the fan working in front of the motor... 2. road debris, bugs, cotton from weeds plugging the space between the radiator and the condenser (common)

484950
Antifreeze and Engine Coolant
Ford Ranger
Ford Ranger XLT
Overheating (Engines)

1995 Ford Ranger cylinder engine The heater is not working No coolant is leaking AC does work The engine is not overheating What could be wrong?

I had a 2000 Taurus with the same problem.It was the blower door motor.Its the little motor that opens and closes the door that directs the heat to the vents.Cost me $330.00 at a dealer because the average person can't get at the motor.Hope this helps.Also have the thermostat looked at,it could be stuck open.

454647
Dodge Shadow
Overheating (Engines)

Why 1994 Dodge Shadow 2.2 engine keeps overheating?

if the radiator is clear & there are no obstructions in front of radiator then make sure belt is properly tensioned next watch to make sure electric fan is cycling as engine gets hot next would be head gasket if other two is good

434445
Oxygen Sensors
Check Engine Light
Eagle Talon
Overheating (Engines)

Why would the engine coolant light stay on an 1995 eagle talon esi even though the engine is not overheating?

Coolant recover tank low or the sending unit on the tank is defective.

434445
Thermostats
Heater Cores and Blower Fans
Dodge Ram
Lincoln Town Car
Overheating (Engines)

Why would a 1984 Town Car overheat when you use the heater if you changed the thermostat six months ago?

water pump may not be worn out, heater core may be clogging

414243
Cars & Vehicles
Overheating (Engines)

What do you pour water in when your car overheats?

The radiator. It should have a fill cap.

BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL if you are trying to put it in while it's hot. The cap on most vehicles will puke out extremely hot anti freeze when you loosen it.

Some vehicles have a reservoir with the cap on it instead of the cap being on the radiator itself. If there is not a cap on the radiator then use the reservoir instead.

It's best to let it cool for about an hour or so if possible. If you can't wait and you have a water hose available you can use it to cool the OUTSIDE of the radiator for a few minutes but don't get any on the motor, it could crack the engine block. After SLOWLY taking the cap off start the engine and let it idle while you SLOWLY add water in. (preferably add anti freeze) Too much cold water too soon can also crack the engine block.

Always have the right mixture of antifreeze for the car as it will let the fluid get hotter before it comes to a boil and also has rust inhibiters. Straight water will boil faster then antifreeze. Most modern vehicles use a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze.

Be aware tho that some vehicle use a certain type of antifreeze so if you don't know which is which then add water as it probably needs to be flushed and fresh fluid installed anyway.

The antifreeze should be replaced in 3 to 5 years on average.

012
Auto Parts and Repairs
Radiators
Thermostats
Ford Windstar GL
Overheating (Engines)

What will cause the water to not flow freely and the car overheat?

A bad thermostat, or in rare cases, a bad water pump.

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