What Are 10 Common Causes Of Overheating? (+ Quick Fixes)

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You may have heard people say that it is normal for a car to overheat, that’s not true. An overheating engine can lead to costly damages.

Thus, when you’re driving and the car seems to be overheating, it is advisable to stop and apply certain measures to get the temperature back to normal. But, you may want to ask, what are 10 common causes of overheating in vehicles/trucks?

There are lots of reasons why an engine can overheat. Trying to mention all of them would be a bit bulky; thus, we’ll be listing out the top 10 causes of overheating in this article. However, on a quiet note, broken parts could cause engine overheating.

What Are 10 Common Causes Of Overheating?

Common Causes Of Overheating

Without wasting much of your time, below are the 1o common causes of overheating, according to auto experts:

1. Thermostat Issues

The thermostat valve could be the reason why your vehicle is overheating. When the thermostat goes bad, the coolant liquid won’t flow easily through the radiator, which would result in overheating.

Actually, a thermostat is a valve/switch that regulates the flow of coolant. It can become faulty or broken due to different reasons. Ensure to check it out when your car starts overheating while you drive.

2. Leaky Gasket

When there are loopholes in the head gasket, coolant will leak out, and oil may end up mixing up with water. This is very bad for your engine; hence, you should get it fixed as soon as possible.

Ignoring a leaky head gasket can result in fatal engine damage, which would obviously cost you more money.

3. Damaged Fan Belt

When the fan belt is not in place or damaged, it could cause the engine to overheat. This is because the fan belt also helps to circulate air in the engine bay to keep the bay at a moderate temperature.

A replacement would be handy when you notice that your fan belt is damaged or get it fixed back to its position if it fell off.

4. Faulty Water Pump

The water pump is one of the most important components in the engine that helps to keep the temperature at moderate levels. Thus, when the water pump is bad (leaking or damaged), there’s the possibility that your engine would overheat.

Also, debris and dirt can prevent the water pump from functioning as supposed – you should wash the engine bay once in a while.

5. Insufficient Coolant

Insufficient Coolant causes car overheat

When you pour in a little coolant, your engine is liable to overheat. This is because the coolant is what flows into the engine to keep it running at a good temperature.

Your car manufacturer would definitely mark a level where the coolant/antifreeze liquid is expected to reach.

Always pour sufficient coolant, and you may never have to deal with an overheating engine. We’d also recommend that you strictly follow the instructions in your car’s manual when filling in motor liquids.

Don’t attempt to drive a car with no coolant/antifreeze inside the reservoir – that’s dangerous.

6. Clogged Components

Over time, the deposits generated by the engine (as a result of dust and grimes that penetrate the engine bay while driving) can block/clog some of the important components.

This can cause overheating if the clogged component plays a role in cooling the engine.

To avoid this, we recommend washing the engine bay after some miles. However, the engine isn’t to be washed the same wash you wash the car’s body. You should follow a car engine wash guide so that you won’t damage certain delicate components.

7. Low Oil

Yes, low oil levels can cause overheating. Oils play a vital role in keeping the engine in good condition (temperature and performance).

So, you should check the oil level and top it up if it is low. Ensure that you use the right motor oil for your car.

8. Clogged or Damaged Hoses

Hoses help to convey various liquids to different components in a car’s engine bay. When one or more of these hoses go bad, it could result in overheating of the heating.

The coolant travels through a hose to circulate through the engine; hence, when faced with an overheating engine, check the hoses first.

Sometimes, the hoses may loosen up and fall off due to severe pressure. Simply connect them back to their previous points, but if broken, replace them.

9. Leaks In Different Components

The gasket, hoses, pumps, etc. are all liable to harbor leaks over time due to constant pressure. It could be difficult to discover leaks in different components, but that could be the reason why your engine is overheating.

If you’re finding it difficult to identify the leaky components, drive the car to an auto workshop and have a mechanic do the checking.

10. Dirty Engine

As awkward as it may sound to you, dirtiness could lead to overheating of engines. This is because grimes and debris can block different points and hinder the seamless flow of air and/or other important liquids that drives a car.

Washing the engine bay with water will help to get rid of dirt and allergies that may be causing the overheating.

Generally, overheating is caused by infrequent maintenance practices and accumulated dirt in the engine bay. Below are some handy tips that will help you deal with an overheating car engine.

What To Do When Your Car Engine Is Overheating

What To Do When Your Car Engine Is Overheating
  • Firstly, when the “High Temperature” sign shows on your dashboard, or you begin to notice that your car is overheating, simply turn off the AC and a safe place to pull over by the side of the road.
  • Wait for the car to cool down before attempting to open the bonnet to avoid incurring serious burns on your palms.
  • Check the coolant to see if the content is almost finished so you can fill it up.
  • Wait for some more time before starting the car again, and when you arrive at your final destination, do ensure to troubleshoot the car to know what caused the overheating.

If you’re unable to figure out the cause, take the car to a mechanic and have him check the potential components that could have caused the overheating.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you keep driving an overheated car?

You run the risk of warping your cylinder heads if you keep driving an overheated car, which can lead to decreased power, excessive burning of oil, and misfiring.

Apart from the head cylinder, other components in your car like belts, wiring, and sensors could also melt.

How much does it cost to fix a car that overheats?

Depending on what caused the overheating and the type of car, it can cost anywhere from $300 to $2000 to properly fix an overheating car.

How do you know if you blew your engine?

One of the signs of a blown engine is white exhaust, while blue exhaust could signify that your engine is about to get blown. Blue smoke may be a sign that raw engine oil is entering the combustion chamber of your engine.

Can you still drive a car with a blown head gasket?

Technically, you can still drive a car with a blown head gasket; however, it’s never advisable as that could potentially lead to a more severe problem with your engine.

Is it worth fixing a blown head gasket?

Yes, it is worth fixing a blown car head gasket as long as the car was in good shape before the head gasket failed.

How much does it cost to fix a head gasket?

According to a national average, it can cost anywhere from $1,624 to $1,979 to fix/replace a head gasket. The parts alone range from $715 to $832, while the labor costs alone can go between $909 to $1147.

What should I check after my car overheats?

Once you notice that your car is overheating, look for a safe place to park, check your radiator to see if it’s leaking water, and then check and ensure that your fan belt did not cut, as these are the 2 common causes of engine overheating.


So, what are 10 common causes of overheating? From our findings, the ten points listed above are the major cause of overheating.

While you might not be able to fully prevent your car engine from overheating, you can prevent your car from overheating by washing the engine once in a while, filling up the necessary liquids, and keeping up with routine tune-ups.

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