Of all the problems that car owners face, overheating is the most common one. There are so many components working under your car’s hood and the combustion process occurs continuously, generating a lot of heat.
If you’ve noticed the temperature gauge needle going up, your engine making a crackling sound, or smoke appearing from under the hood, your car is overheating. If your car overheats and then goes back to normal, you should suspect a fault in one of the engine’s parts.
If your car is overheating then going back to normal, do not continue driving, and get it checked immediately by an expert mechanic.
Why Is My Car Overheating Then Going Back to Normal?
There could be a few potential reasons behind your car overheating, and you should suspect the following;
1 – Bad Thermostat Valve
If the thermostat valve is not functioning properly, the flow of coolant through the engine would not be normal. It could also be the whole thermostat that has gone bad or a faulty sensor that’s causing the problem.
Remember that if your car is overheating and then settling down, it is most probably a bad thermostat valve that’s hampering the normal flow of coolant through the engine and can’t regulate the temperature.
2 – Leakage in the Cooling System
If there’s a leakage in any part of the cooling system, be it the coolant reservoir, hoses, or pipes, the coolant level will become low and air entrapment would also occur. It would affect the temperature regulation of the engine and lead to frequent overheating.
You can look for leaks in the system or coolant level from the reservoir, located below the battery on the right side of the engine bay.
3 – Low Engine Oil Level
Engine oil lubricates all the parts inside the engine and keeps the friction at a minimum. If the engine oil gets leaked or is low due to some reason, it would not be able to maintain the temperature of the engine, and friction among the moving parts would increase exponentially.
This is another common cause of engine overheating, and you should regularly keep an eye on the engine oil level, via the dipstick.
4- Problematic Radiator Fan
The function of the radiator fan is to dissipate heat from the coolant and regulate the temperature. If the fan is lousy or not working properly, the coolant would not get back to normal temperature before recirculating through the engine causing overheating.
This is not such a complex issue and can even be diagnosed easily. You could hear your radiator fan not running at all or making strange noises if it has become faulty.
5- Malfunctioning Radiator
The radiator is the main part of the cooling system and ensures that everything is regulated properly. If the radiator is malfunctioning, has a leak, or is damaged, it would not be able to regulate the temperature of the car and it would get overheated frequently.
If your car’s temperature gauge goes up and down, and the car is overheating continuously, you should suspect a problem with the radiator of your car.
6- Low Coolant Level
Coolant is the most important fluid in the cooling system of a car and maintains the temperature of the engine by circulating through all the parts of the engine. It is stored in the coolant reservoir and is propelled by a water pump through the engine and it dissipates the engines heat, which is then regulated by the radiator fan.
There could be several reasons behind the low coolant level, including a leak in the system, a damaged head gasket, or damaged pipes. This is not such a complicated problem and locating the source of the leak can get rid of this problem.
7- Damaged Head Gasket
The head gasket has a very crucial job, it is located between the engine block and cylinder head, and prevents the engine oil and coolant from mixing. If your car’s head gasket is damaged, the engine oil will mix up with the coolant, and both the fluids won’t be able to do their job properly. This is another major reason behind your car overheating and can be costly to fix.
8- Faulty Water Pump
Water pump propels the coolant from the reservoir and circulates it through the engine. Without the water pump, the coolant won’t move through all the parts of the engine. A damaged or clogged water pump is a major reason behind your car overheating, as the coolant is not properly circulated through the engine properly and fails to regulate the temperature of the engine.
Other Similar Problems:
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Car starts rough first then smooths out gradually – Find out why!
Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting
Humming Noise in Car Getting Louder As you Go faster
How to Fix It?
If your car is overheating or you even notice some smoke coming from under the engine, it is advisable not to drive any further and park your car safely. Let the car cool down and then immediately get it checked and fixed by an expert technician.
1- Replace the Head Gasket – If the head gasket is damaged, it is ideal to get it repaired from an experienced technician. Head gaskets usually don’t malfunction before 80,000 miles and maintaining it regularly can prevent this problem.
2- Fix the Leaks in the System – Leaks are quite common in cars driven over 100,000 miles and can be fixed easily. Some leaks can be difficult to locate and fixing it can solve the problem of engine overheating.
3- Repair the Water Pump – Water pump is a very crucial part of the cooling system and the most common fault in these pumps is either a blockage or clogging. Usually, servicing the water pump or even minor repairs can solve the problem of overheating.
4- Get the Radiator Repaired – Radiator is one of the most wearing parts of the engine and can become problematic after 100,000 miles. Radiator repairs are quite common and can easily fix the problem of overheating.
5- Replace the Thermostat Valve – If the thermostat valve is faulty, it is better if you get it replaced rather than fixing it. It is not much costly and can easily get rid of this overheating problem.
No matter how well you maintain your car or how carefully you drive it, any part can become faulty over time and thousands of miles of usage. If you notice that your car is overheating and then coming back to normal, or making strange noises and smoke appearing from engine, there’s something wrong with the cooling system or some other engine part.
Getting your car diagnosed immediately by an experienced mechanic is the best option, as they can offer you the best solution as well. When your car overheats, do not drive it any further and take it to a safe location, before engine’s temperature settles down.