water pump, radiator, low on water, thermostat, But, get it checked soon. Even a minor problem that can be fixed if taken care of in a timely fashion can save the motor. Once the damage is done to the motor, you are looking at major bucks. Good Luck.
The average operating temperature of a car engine is about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent the engine from exceeding this temperature, cars are designed with a cooling system that includes a radiator and a water (coolant) pump. The pump pushes liquid around the engine and returns it to the radiator. The radiator has fans which push air through the radiator coils thus cooling the liquid. This cooler liquid is then re-pumped through the engine. If there is a leak, the car will loose coolant and will not be able to circulate the liquid. If the pump fails, the liquid will not circulate and the coolant in the engine will start boiling. The radiator cap is SPECIFICALLY designed to release coolant if the boiling pressure is exceeded. This prevents the seals from bursting and destroying the engine. Coolant is a 50/50 mixture of ethelyn glycol and water. Water has a boiling temp of 220 and thus will boil before the operating temp (250) is reached. This is why you should never fill a radiator with just water.
Why does anything gets overheated in the first place? Friction, leading to an increase in the average kinetic energy of the molecules making up the substance, which is basically increasing the heat energy of that substance. Generally, no machine is 100 % efficient, so heat in always produced due to friction, which is btw a contact force. The textbook reasoning would be that whenever the amount of effort required to overcome a certain load i.e to do a certain amount of work increases, the efficiency decreases, and more heat is produced. A car, or basically any other machine can get overheated due to : aged and/or obsolete machinery; external agents getting accumulated in the moving machine parts; over use and less rest time given o the machine; bad condition of working environment(roads); testing the complete potential of the machine and trying to cross its limits etc....HOPE THAT THIS PROVED HELPFUL ;)
When does it overheat? Sitting at a stop light for extended periods; check for an air restriction across the radiator, or a bad cooling fan. While driving normally down a road, check you coolant level; this must be done when the engine is cold or you risk the possibility of some severe burns. Rule of thumb when working on cooling systems, if you can not comfortably hold your hand on the radiator for extended periods of time, it's too hot to work on. The cooling system works under pressure, this pressure helps in raising the boiling point of the coolant, if you remove the pressure from hot coolant, you can end up with your very own geyser, not a fun thing to have happen. If the coolant level is low, start looking for a leak, could be as simple as a drip, could be a dried spray pattern in the engine compartment (might look like rain splatter on a dirty windshield), could be a crusty build-uo at the end of a coolant hose, or could be a faulty radiator cap. If you suspect a leak, go to your local Checker or Auto Zone and rent a cooling system pressure tester, this will allow you to pressurize the cooling system when the engine is cold.
1 year ago
Last edited at 8:44AM on 12/15/2012
I would be easier to answer if I had a year range, however, Low Coolant, bad water pump & belts, leaking radiator, split radiator hoses. Leaking radiator core, or fan temperature switch to enable electric fan motor on modern cars. I hope I helped. Old Man Hot Rodder since 1947!
1 year ago
Last edited at 2:00PM on 12/16/2012
it over heats because you didn't check the antifreeze level in radiator or you have a bad thermostat or bad water pump or broken radiator hose or broken belt. check all that apply & look for leaks on floor.
Is it low on coolant (antifreeze/water) which can be both a cause and/or a symptom of overheating? Or is it getting too hot while it is still full of coolant? Also, sometimes it is possible for the engine & radiator to be low on coolant even though the plastic bottle is full. Also sometimes the overheating can be worse than the temperature gauge shows if there is not enough coolant to make the sensor as hot as the hottest part of the engine.
Depending on the temperature if you live in a cold environment the coolant can actually crystallize in the engine and block the flow of coolant circulating around your engine block. This of course would over heat the engine. This can also happen if you never change the coolant. Another reason is a stuck thermostat, most thermostats by nature of manufacture will, if jammed, jam open to let coolant flow unrestricted around the engine. Also check your water pump, if this goes bad than your engine can overheat. And of course your radiator may be plugged up which would prevent coolant from flowing.
It's either low on coolant which is caused by a leaking water pump, hoses, or radiator. It can also be a cracked head gasket which causes the engine oil and coolant to mix. Finally it could be a bad thermostat which controls the amount of coolant running through the engine to maintain operating temperature.
There are several possible answers. 1. leak in radiator 2. radiator cap has lost its seal 3. thermostat is stuck closed 4. overflow container has a crack 5. hose is cut. 6. water pump is starting to fail. 7. cooling fan is bad. The cooling system is sealed and if you have low coolant then something is leaking. A cheap repair if not taken care of can cost hundreds of dollars if your head gasket blows it seal due to extreme overheating.
Stuck Thermostat-- Partially blocked radiator ---defective fan motor--defective fan blade--100% water in radiator going through Mohave dessert in a hot day in July, instead of 50/50 H2o and anti-freeze solution. Defective Water pump. Sometimes--low oil in crankcase.What else.This is free info--I do not charge--God Bless--Happy Holidays