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Symptoms to look out for when the cooling system has an issue:-

If you see any of these symptoms, pull over as soon as you can and switch off the engine, as the object is to prevent the engine from getting too hot and creating damage to engine components. This could be an expensive event with tow charges and potentially, high repair bills.

  • High reading on the temperature gauge.

  • Coolant warning light lit up on the dash.

  • Steam coming out of the bonnet.

Any sign of the engine overheating should be taken seriously, so pull over safely and shut the engine down to prevent any further damage. Continuing to drive an overheated car will damage the cylinder head gasket and warp the cylinder head. Further engine damage will occur to the major components and could possibly require a complete engine overhaul.

Simply letting the engine cool down and topping it up with coolant may help get you further but may not fix the root cause issue.

Common reasons for overheating:

  • The coolant level could be way too low due to the levels not being checked on a regular basis or there could be a leak in the cooling system. Coolant can leak from hoses, the radiator, water pump or inside the actual engine. Coolant additives do age and lose their rust-inhibiting effectiveness allowing rust to develop, creating leaks and blocking the radiator.

  • Exceeding the towing capacity of the vehicle.

  • The thermostat that regulates the temperature of the engine may be stuck closed or clogged.

  • The radiator cap may be faulty not allowing the system to pressurise.

  • The water pump could be faulty and leaking or not pumping a good flow of coolant through the system.

  • The cooling fan may be faulty,  the fuse is blown or jammed with road debris.

  • Blown head gasket allowing water to leak into the cylinders.

Make sure you check the coolant level on a regular basis, complacency can be disastrous! Doing regular checks will give you early signs that something is not quite right and allow you to get it checked out by a professional. Your auto repair shop will be able to test the cooling systems pressure and expose any hidden leaks.

The best policy is to have a regular check-up done on the car,  the cooling system and renewing the inhibitor before it loses its effectiveness. This process could prevent an unpleasant breakdown and expensive repair bill.

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