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Why Is My Car Overheating?


So, you’ve noticed steam coming from under your car’s hood and there’s a strange, sweet smell coming from your car’s engine area. Maybe a warning has popped up on your dashboard and you’ve seen the temperature gauge on your dashboard spike into the red zone.

Your car is likely overheating and in need of prompt automotive service. Of course, you may wonder why your car is overheating. There are a variety of reasons why this can happen. Four of the most common reasons are:

  • A coolant leak or malfunction
  • A malfunctioning thermostat
  • Low or dirty engine oil
  • A radiator fan malfunction

Read on to answer the question “Why is my car overheating?” If you live near Amherst, Manchester, or Derry, MA, you can then contact the service center team at Ira Toyota of Manchester to schedule service today!

Fluid Leak

A Coolant Leak or Malfunction

Coolant leaks are the most common reason why your car is overheating. Coolant is part of the cooling system and does exactly what it sounds like: keeps your engine temperature cool. If there’s a leak in your car’s cooling system or some other malfunction, coolant won’t circulate properly.

Coolant system malfunctions can happen in very hot weather as well as when frigid temperatures cause your system’s coolant to freeze. If you suspect a coolant system leak or malfunction, don’t wait to contact the team at your local service center.

A Malfunctioning Thermostat

Every vehicle comes with a thermostat that helps regulate the amount of coolant flowing through the engine. If your system’s thermostat is broken or malfunctioning, your car’s coolant may not circulate as it should. This can easily lead to overheating.

Oil Level Check

Low or Dirty Engine Oil

Getting your vehicle’s oil changed is a routine service we all should do every 7,500 miles or so. That’s common knowledge. However, you may not know one of the reasons why we do this is to prevent our cars from overheating.

Engine oil has the very important jobs of lubrication and temperature regulation. If your car’s oil is old, it may be dirty and sluggish and can lead to friction damage and overheating. Have your vehicle’s oil changed at regular intervals to ensure it’s running on a full reservoir of clean oil.

Radiator Fans

A Radiator Fan Malfunction

Your engine is likely equipped with a radiator fan that cools down things by pulling heat away from the rest of the cooling system. If your vehicle’s radiator fan is malfunctioning, then it won’t keep things as cool as it should. This can lead to overheating.

What Do I Do If My Car Is Overheating?

If your car is overheating, remain calm and follow these simple steps:

  1. Pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot.
  2. Park your car and turn off the ignition.
  3. Open the hood and allow the heat to clear out.
  4. After 10 minutes, turn the ignition to its first position.
  5. Check that the temperature gauge is within normal range.
  6. Check your vehicle’s fluid levels.
  7. Start the engine and listen for any strange sounds.
  8. Contact your automotive local service center for assistance.

If you hear any strange sounds when you start your car’s engine or the engine doesn’t start at all, contact the team at your service center as soon as possible. You may need a tow.

If your car is overheating, we recommend calling for assistance as soon as you pull over, park, and turn off your vehicle’s ignition. It’s always best to have your car checked by a professional before continuing to drive.

Schedule Service for Your Overheating Car

Is your car overheating? If so, then it’s time to contact the service center team at Ira Toyota of Manchester. Drivers near Manchester, Derry, and Amherst, MA, can contact us to schedule service today!

Ira Toyota of Manchester 42.95203, -71.43778.