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What to do when Your Car Overheats in Phoenix, AZ

What should I do if my car starts to overheat?

The number 1 thing to do if your car starts to overheat is to pull off the road as soon as it is safe and shut the engine off.  We recommend you do not attempt to check the fluid level in the radiator; the hot fluid can cause severe burns.

Internal combustion engines are inefficient because they produce a large amount of heat in order to get going. The heat is produced within the engine by friction and combustion, and can reach as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit in the chamber.

Overheating can cause 5 key issues with engines:

1.Hoses Under Pressure

If you are driving a car that is overheating but still has coolant, usually a faulty thermostat, the high temperatures can cause the antifreeze to boil, expand, and cause intense pressure within the radiator hoses. This can potentially result in hoses suddenly bursting or spraying hot coolant from a weak or broken seal – what we meant by the burns above.

2.Warped Cylinder Heads

Many newer vehicles are equipped with aluminum cylinder heads, and aluminum warps or melts at temperatures less than steel. Keep driving an overheated car and the cylinder heads will eventually begin to warp. When this happens, it can lead to a blown head gasket, which is an expensive repair. It also conflicts with the combustion process as the heads do not perform as well when they are warped. The signs of having warped cylinder heads include decreased engine power, misfiring, oil leaks or excessive oil burning.

Blown Head Gasket

The worst-case scenario when you drive your car too long while it's overheating is a blown head gasket, because not only is it devastating to your vehicle, it's also one of the costliest repair jobs you'll ever have. When the head gasket blows, it allows engine coolant to leak and mix with the engine oil. Vehicles are not designed to function properly with antifreeze in the oil. The symptoms of a blown head gasket include milky engine oil, thick white smoke coming from the exhaust, and severely decreased engine performance.

Melted Engine Components

A lot of other components surround the engine compartment that are subject to damage from intense heat. Welds, seals, sensors, belts, electrical wiring, and parts like the exhaust manifold, steering column and fuel pump are all at risk when you drive your car while it's overheating.

Damage to Exhaust System

Despite the fact that the car is overheating, an ample amount of hot gases still is traveling and exiting through the exhaust system. This can cause significant damage to the exhaust manifold and catalytic converter if the temperatures are high enough for a long period of time.

Dayes Automotive promotes safe and responsible driving.  We believe know car basics is the key to being smart about how you treat it. Our Service Manager is a level 1 master mechanic - we know our stuff.  If you like dependable car repair and affordable prices, come by and see us today.

Stay Cool -

Tim and Kent