What Causes Engine Overheating?

Engine overheating is a common issue that affects many vehicles, including cars, trucks, and buses. If left unchecked, it can cause severe damage to the engine and other components of the vehicle. Therefore, it is vital to understand what causes engine overheating and how to prevent it. In this blog post, we will explore the various factors that contribute to engine overheating, with a particular focus on South African conditions.

Reasons Engines Overheat

Low coolant

Low coolant levels are a common cause of engine overheating. Coolant is a liquid that circulates through the engine, absorbing heat and transferring it to the radiator, where it is dissipated into the air. If the coolant level is too low, it cannot function properly, resulting in overheating. Low coolant levels can be caused by leaks, a faulty radiator cap, or a blown head gasket.

Malfunctioning thermostat

A malfunctioning thermostat can cause engine overheating. The thermostat is a valve that regulates the flow of coolant through the engine. If it’s stuck in the closed position, coolant cannot circulate, resulting in an engine overheating problem. In contrast, if the thermostat is stuck in the open position, the engine may not reach its operating temperature, resulting in poor fuel economy, increased emissions, and reduced performance.

Clogged radiator

The radiator is responsible for dissipating the heat absorbed by the coolant, making it an essential component in the engine cooling system. A blocked radiator can cause engine overheating. If the radiator is clogged with debris or mineral deposits, it can’t perform its function effectively, resulting in engine thermal overheating.

Faulty water pump

The water pump is responsible for circulating the coolant through the engine and radiator. If it fails, the coolant cannot circulate, resulting in overheating. Common causes of water pump failure include worn bearings, damaged impellers, and leaks.

Extreme weather conditions

In South Africa, high temperatures and humidity can put a strain on the engine cooling system, making it more susceptible to engine thermal overload. Similarly, driving in stop-and-go traffic or towing heavy loads can also increase the risk of engine thermal overload.

Damaged or warped cylinder head

The cylinder head is a crucial component in the engine, responsible for sealing the combustion chamber and allowing the engine to operate efficiently. If it’s damaged or warped, coolant can leak into the combustion chamber, causing the engine to overheat. Common causes of cylinder head damage include overheating, improper installation, and coolant contamination.

To prevent engine overheating, it’s important to maintain the engine cooling system regularly. This includes checking the coolant level, replacing the coolant and radiator cap periodically, inspecting the thermostat and water pump for signs of wear or damage, and flushing the radiator to remove any debris or mineral deposits. Additionally, drivers should avoid overloading their vehicles and drive cautiously in extreme weather conditions.

If you require engine rebuilding and reconditioning specialists in KwaZulu-Natal, Eagleharm Engineering can provide the best solutions. With over 30 years of experience, we offer a range of services, including engine rebuilding, engine reconditioning, and cylinder head repairs. Our team of highly skilled technicians is ready to help! Contact us today. 

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