You may feel your temperature rising if you are stuck in one of Australia's notorious traffic jams, but the matter will become much worse if your car begins to get hot under the collar as well. What could be going wrong if that gauge is claiming inexorably towards the red?
Potential Trouble Ahead
Overheating is not unusual if the ambient temperature is high and the engine is struggling to receive its regular coolant supply. However, you need to be wary about the situation, as it won't take long for damage to occur if that gauge climbs too high.
To troubleshoot the problem, understand how a cooling system works. The engine block is riddled with tiny passages, and coolant flows through as part of a continuous cycle. This coolant will absorb the heat as it passes through the block and carry it through hoses and pipes to the front of the vehicle. There, the liquid will be forced through a radiator matrix that is exposed to the passing air. An electric fan will also play its part, especially when the vehicle is stopped at a traffic light.
How It Works
Overheating could be caused by a number of different reasons. For example, a leak may have developed in one of the hoses, the water pump that circulates the coolant may have broken, or you may have an issue with the radiator.
- You should be able to tell if the coolant is leaking simply by looking beneath the car.
- You may also need to check the thermostat that regulates the overall flow. When the coolant temperature reaches a certain level, the thermostat will open and allow the liquid to flow through to the radiator. This device will close when the temperature returns to its normal level, but sometimes, the thermostat can break, and it may be stuck in the "off" position.
- Take a look at the radiator and see if you notice any issues. Sometimes, the forward-facing matrix can become blocked by leaves, and at other times, stones or debris may cause a puncture hole.
- It can be difficult to tell if the water pump is working as it should, and that is a question that is better posed to a mechanic.
What to Do Next
You shouldn't drive your vehicle very far if it is overheating badly. Instead, call your mechanic for advice, and they may recommend a tow to the shop for auto repairs. Alternatively, drive the car to a service station as soon as possible so that a technician can carry out the necessary repairs.