Late spring and summer are the time for longer days, warmer temperatures, and often more adventures. There is nothing less than ideal that going to hit the road and seeing a puff of white billow out from under the hood, smell something funny, or notice your temperature needle moving toward the red. This can usually only mean one thing, your vehicle could be overheating. As the weather gets hotter in the Phoenix area, you may be curious about what season vehicles most often overheat in. Let’s take a look.
In What Season do Vehicles Most Often Overheat?
While today’s vehicles are equipped with advanced cooling systems with multiple heat sensors and computer-controlled electric fans designed to keep your engine running in any weather; overheating can still occur. As the temperatures rise, so does the risk of your car, truck, or SUV overheating.
Vehicles overheat most often in very hot weather, usually during the summer months. With summer right around the corner, you should make sure your Phoenix vehicle is ready to withstand the heat.
What Causes a Vehicle to Overheat?
Engines can overheat for various reasons.
- Cooling System Leak: An overheated engine is most often caused by a problem with the vehicle’s cooling system. There are many components in a vehicle’s cooling system that could spring a leak. When a leak occurs, coolant can’t flow to the critical engine parts, which causes heat to build up, without being released by the radiator, causing your vehicle to overheat.
- Coolant Issues: The cooling system in an engine helps it to maintain its internal temperatures and transfer excessive heat out of the engine. The cooling system uses coolant (antifreeze) to keep the engine cool in the warmer months and to prevent it from freezing in the colder months. If the coolant in your vehicle gets low, the car may overheat, which will damage the engine and could cause other issues.
- Blocked Hoses: Your vehicle goes through a lot every day. As you drive from place to place, your car picks up dirt, debris, road sediment, and other foreign materials. If your coolant compartment isn’t sealed properly, these materials can get mixed into your coolant, and sent through your hoses, eventually causing a block, or severely restricting the flow of coolant. Lack of coolant, as reviewed above, can cause your vehicle to overheat.
- Radiator Problems: Your vehicle’s radiator is critical to keeping you on the road safely. Radiators can develop a number of problems. If your radiator is leaky, clogged, bent/damaged, or if the radiator fan is not operating properly, heat won’t be able to escape your vehicle correctly, causing overheating.
- Malfunctioning Thermostat: When the thermostat in your vehicle starts to fail, it can stick open or closed, messing with the flow of coolant to parts of your vehicle. If not addressed, it can lead to the engine overheating. If you notice the temperature gauge reading very high and overheating, the temperature starts changing erratically, or you find coolant leaks, you could have a broken thermostat.
- Broken Water Pump: If your water pump fails, like a thermostat, it will not properly circulate coolant through your system which can cause catastrophic engine damage. A vehicle’s water pump draws cooled fluid from the radiator in through the pump’s center inlet. It then circulates the fluid outward into the engine and back into the car’s cooling system, keeping your vehicle at desirable temperatures, so it doesn’t overheat.
While vehicles most often overheat in the warmer months of the year, overheating can occur at any time. Overheating could be caused by a cooling system leak, faulty radiator fan or bad radiator hose, broken water pump, bad thermostat, clogged coolant hose, a blown head gasket, amongst other things.
Regardless of what is causing your vehicle to overheat, this isn’t a problem that you want to leave unattended. Not addressing the problem right away could lead to serious and permanent damage, and you should try to keep your vehicle’s engine in good condition, to extend the lifespan of your vehicle.
If you notice signs of cooling system issues in your vehicle, you should take it to a Phoenix automotive repair shop. If your vehicle is overheating, follow our tips for how to handle your vehicle until it can be serviced.
Your summer should be filled with fun and the sun. Advanced Transmissions & Emissions understands your time is valuable, and we want to get you back on the road quickly. Contact us for your Phoenix automotive repair needs.