If you are driving down the road and you notice the temperature gauge start moving its way up to the hot side, your car is most likely about to overheat. Some of the signs of overheating are a hot temperature gauge and smoke coming out the hood of your car. Here are some of the more common reasons why a car overheats.
You Have a Coolant Leak
One of the more common reasons a vehicle overheats is because there is a coolant leak you weren't aware of. You should be checking all your vehicle's fluids regularly, but if it has been a while since you have and you are experiencing overheating, a leak might be the culprit. First check the coolant levels and the water in the reservoir. If it looks low, there may be a leak somewhere. If you don't find the source of the leak, re-fill the coolant and see how quickly it empties.
The Radiator Fan Needs Replaced
Your car's radiator helps to keep your engine cool with a radiator fan. If the fan switch or the fan itself is worn or has damage, it will stop working properly, which could then cause your vehicle to overheat. The switch on the fan is triggered by the heat of your vehicle. That switch could be faulty, which is the reason the fan is no longer turning on at the right times. You can either buy the auto parts yourself or bring in your car to a mechanic to have the switch or fan replaced.
You Need a New Coolant Fan
Another fan in your car that helps to cool it down is the coolant fan. The coolant fan works by circulating and distributing heat in your vehicle, so the heat doesn't remain in one place and cause overheating of the engine. If this fan becomes faulty, the cool air isn't reaching your engine and radiator, and the heat problem escalates. This most often occurs when you are sitting in traffic, as this is when the coolant fan is used most. If you are in traffic and the temperature gauge is going up, but it is steady while you are driving, then the problem might be the coolant fan.
The Thermostat Needs to be Replaced
Another part that could be faulty and need to be replaced in your car's thermostat. It is possible that your car is overheating not because of the engine, radiator, or cooling system, but because of the thermostat itself. A sign that it is the thermostat is if your car overheats most often when you reach high speeds, such as when you are driving on the freeway. If your temperature is fine when you drive slow, but gets higher when driving faster, it is probably the thermostat.