Keep eye on engine overheating

We’ve all seen it, the poor man or woman on the side of the road with the hood of their vehicle up.  As smoke rises at the scene, we think to ourselves “I’m really glad that’s not me”.

We never want to be that person on the side of the road, holding up traffic or panicking because we have absolutely no idea what is going on with our vehicle. Overheating a car engine is fairly common and there are many reasons why this happens, We are going to be looking at the most common reasons why this happens. We as college students are extremely busy. We need to get from Point A to Point B, so pay attention to your vehicle and its needs so you are not stranded on the side of the road with nowhere to go.

Always be sure to check the engine coolant level of your vehicle as this is one of the easiest ways to prevent overheating. How do you do this? Simple! Just pop open the hood of your vehicle and locate the cap that says “Engine Coolant Only.” This is usually to the back of the engine on either side. Now, look to the side of the engine coolant container.  It will have the words COLD (full) and WARM printed. You want the level to be near the COLD (full) label. If you see it is lower, then you will need to run to your nearest automotive shopping store to purchase engine coolant. But here is a tip. Make sure your vehicle engine is cool before checking the level of the coolant, as coolant expands when it is heated and will give you a faulty reading.

The next possible reason could be the most typical issue — the water pump. It is said to be the most typical because the water pump needs to be replaced every so often as people do tend to over look this. When you leave home, do you notice liquid on the floor from where your vehicle was sitting? Is it clear? Is it perhaps green? These are all related to the water pump. Your water pump can actually be leaking engine coolant, which would be the reason for the green-colored liquid coming from your vehicle. Even if the liquid is clear-colored, you need to take your vehicle to an automotive shop because a leak in the water pump can cause overheating.

Another more complex reason would be a bad radiator. A radiator can be pretty pricey to replace. A leak in the coolant system can cause a bad radiator, so be sure to check for leaks in those hoses. If you notice the thermostat is being tricky, you need to take it to an automotive shop.

Truth be told, there are many more reasons as to why a vehicle will overheat. It could be a faulty thermostat, hoses, radiator fan, low oil or something major like, your engine being seriously worn and needing to be rebuilt or replaced. All we can do is pay attention to our vehicles’ needs. Check the coolant level from time to time, look under your vehicle to make sure there is no leakage and pay more attention to the thermostat — things that will take just a moment of your time to avoid such a huge issue.

Remember. No one wants to be the person stranded on the side of the road with a stalled-out vehicle.

E-mail Gonzales at gagonza1@student.uiwtx.edu

Gaby Gonzales

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