Car engine heating up? You don’t know what else to do?



If your car has the engine heating up and you don’t know what else to do don’t panic!

In today’s article I will leave some tips on how to diagnose failures and defects in the automotive cooling system of most domestic and imported vehicles!

Engine heating up a lot
See tips to solve overheating of your car’s engine!

As many already know, modern cars are currently equipped with cooling system that uses a mixture of additives and demineralized water to cool the engine, and all its auxiliary parts.

In general the composition of this system is as follows:

Modern automotive cooling system

As shown in the illustration above the main components of the cooling system are as follows:

  • RadiatorIts function is basically to effect the heat exchange with the air that comes from the front of the car through the grille that exists below the hood, and is located behind for front shocks.
  • Electro-fan: or also known as fan, is responsible for forcing the circulation of air coming from the front of the vehicle when it is stopped or at low speed and the cold air flow is not enough for a perfect heat exchange. In air-conditioned vehicles there can be more than one electro-fan, or simply one large with two operating speeds, a low and a high.
  • Expansion Reservoir Cover: Its function is to keep the pressurized cooling system within the limits set by the manufacturer for proper operation. In case of overload of the cooling system, a safety valve opens inside the cover and the system is automatically depressurized to prevent a possible explosion of a hose or radiator housing itself that is made of plastic.
  • Water Pump: As its name says, it has the role of pumping the cooling liquid through the head and engine block, cooling the internal components of the engine and finally takes it to the radiator so that it is cooled in a constant cycle while the engine is running.
  • Thermostatic Valve: Its function is to close the passage of the cooling liquid while the engine is cold, so that there is a quick and uniform heating of all parts of the engine. Thus avoiding premature wear of engine piston liners and exhaust gas emissions exesso (the engine consumes more fuel when it is cold, and as a result pollutes more too). 
  • Expansion reservoir: Allows to accommodate the cooling liquid, both in cold phase of the engine and in hot phase. ( The cooling liquid has its characteristics changed <expande>as the temperature changes).</expande>

What else causes the excessive heating of the car engine, after all?

There are many causes for the car engine to stop being cooled efficiently, the more common ones are caused by:

Thermostatic valve locked
Thermostatic valve locked, with clear signs of oxidation.

Thermostatic valve stuck, rusty, and consequently locked in the closed position. After the engine heats up, it does not open or opens little and the cooling liquid does not circulate causing overheating and the result does not even have to count right?  Gasket of the burned head, melted pistons and maybe even molten engine because when the temperature rises beyond normal, the oil film that protects the internal parts of the engine is broken and begins an unfortunate friction that destroys everything inside.

Quick diagnosis: With the engine already hot, (careful not to burn ein) gropes the hoses that come in and come out of the radiator, by obligation they must all be at the same temperature if there is one of the hoses at a lower temperature, you can be sure that the water is not circulating inside. and the possible culprits are the water pump, or the thermostatic valve is locked or clogged…  and it will be necessary to change parts, prepare the pocket!

Water pump with cracked rotor, breaking or worn.
Water pump with cracked rotor, breaking or worn.

Water pump with its rotor locked, or with worn blades broken, Again when the water pump is not legal, the cooling liquid does not circulate and engine heats up too much!  The results are unfortunate for the car owner’s pocket.

Quick diagnosis: It’s the same diagnosis I taught to check for the malfunction of the thermostatic valve. Attention! The water pump can leak, and that’s a sign that it’s not cool anymore. If you come across engine leaks near there of the straps and front accessories you can be sure that the water pump of your car was in the bag!


Electro-fan in short, burned, with broken blades or simply locking, observe the operation of the electro-fan or fan when the motor is hot, it should turn on when the temperature reaches approximately 90 Degrees, or (if your car has) the indicator / temperature marker of the panel reach more or less in half… and it should turn off after a maximum of 120 seconds with the car stopped and idling.  A sign that the cooling system is not going well is the fact that the fan turns on and does not turn off at any time.  Also note possible noises coming from the electrofan, if you notice strange noises while it is running take your car to the mechanic as it can stop at any time!

Quick diagnosis: Before any attitude the first thing to check when the fan is not working with the car engine in hot regime, it is necessary to check the fuses of the car, and if there is any burned exchange it for a fuse of the same capacity or color.  Some older vehicles are equipped with thermo-sensitive switch (the so-called “cebolão” ) and in many cases when the fan does not work it is the fault of the “cebolão” that is not working anymore.  Simply swapping it for a new switch that works in the same temperature range as the original car. To know if the cebolão is burned just make a connection with a thin wire, or a click of paper / wire in your electrical terminals to see if connecting directly the electro-fan works.  Once this is done the fan turn on, so just change the cebolão that the problem is solved.  With the cold motor you can try to rotate the electro-fan blades with the tip of a screwdriver, and also check that the fan is not locked, it should rotate easily and without making noises.  In case of crashes or if it is too heavy, it will need to be replaced.

Clogged radiator
Rust-clogged radiator.

Radiator clogged, or very dirty: If the radiator is with its channels clogged or very dirty, or crumpled it also won’t do its job right and at the end of the day the car engine will also not cool down at all.  It is difficult to know if a radiator is good or not, basically one of the symptoms that the radiator is not cool is the fact that the engine of the car heats up beyond normal when circulating within urban centers and cities, or when climbing large climbs or hills. Another detail: usually when the radiator does not go well, the fan does not turn off at any time, or it takes a long time to turn off.

Quick diagnosis: A test to be done that usually delivers the villain, is to look directly at the radiator through the cracks and holes that exist in the bumper, if you notice that there are dirt, dry leaves, clay or other things that cover the “holes” of the radiator so you probably found the reason why your car is heating up.  You will need to disassemble the radiator and perform a good cleaning to restore its normal functionality.

Expansion reservoir cover.

Expansion reservoir cover with damaged safety valve, locked, relaxed or with corroded / ruptured seal trim, This is undoubtedly one of the most recurrent and easiest and cheapest defects to solve, but difficult to diagnose without proper tools.  When this naughty, is in trouble she just leaves the cooling system with a crazy behavior, time works well, time boils …  It can even confuse a diagnosis of the radiator fan, because when the lid is in trouble it lets the water expand, and the heat conduction becomes difficult and finally the fan does not turn on at all even with the engine very hot.

Quick diagnosis: Check for possible leaks in the lid itself, any drop of water that drains through the lid when it is tight, and with the engine hot may indicate that the lid is no longer in good condition and needs to be replaced!  In general the lid can also be damaged if the car has already had a history of overheating for other previous reasons.

Hoses and ducts.
Hoses and ducts.

Leaks in hoses, fittings, clamps, seals or any part of the engine, and seals: They are also the cause of any heating problem! in cooling systems it is worth remembering that there should be no leaks anywhere, because if there is any leakage the cooling liquid will fail to drive the heat and the engine will heat up beyond normal!  Then stay tuned!  Radiator water doesn’t complete every day, didn’t you see it?  Normal is every 30 days or so. If you have noticed that the water in your car is disappearing then take it to the mechanic for an evaluation. The car’s hot air system can also fail causing water leakage into the vehicle, so if you notice any water infiltration into the car it is worth reviewing the system to prevent a possible failure.

Engine head cracked due to heating
Engine head cracked due to overheating.

Head of the engine cracked, warped, and with the gasket burned….

Finally we come to the most ghastly part of the story, when the engine head has already been affected by another later problem, the engine will never stop heating even if you change the entire cooling system!   Damaged engine head is the result of insisting on riding with the car with extreme heating problems, and the repair value can leave any driver scared…

Quick diagnosis:

Usually when there are problems in the head the engine may or may not lose its strength and yield, can fail, shake, shake, and make strange noises, it can also start to release a white smoke by the exhaust, the water from the reservoir disappears frequently, and engine is always heating up beyond normal.

Queiamada head joint
Clear signs that the head joint is burned: Coffee-coloured sludge with milk on the engine oil cap.

Remove the oil rod from the car, and check for signs of a thick substance reminiscent of a paste, coffee-colored with milk that may or may not be accompanied by water droplets.  Also remove the lid where oil is placed in the engine, and any sign of this foreign substance instead of oil immediately stop your car and take it to the mechanic because the damage is already done and insist on riding like this can result in a total loss of the engine of your car.

What else is the result of riding the car with a heating engine?

Oh you still don’t know?   If you try, or simply need to do this to get to a place where there is assistance from a mechanic to fix your car, know that the damage will be high because the engine of your car will FUSE!   So whenever possible, stop and call a squeak that the joke will come out cheaper.

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