March 2016
Recommended Maintenance

Overheating Car Engines: scenarios, explanations and what to do


No matter when it happens or where you are, it’s always a downer when your Honda CR-V overheats. It probably makes you first panic and then become irritated or mad. It most likely also causes you to worry. Worry about what the problem is or how much it is going to cost. To calm your nerves, here are some common scenarios for when your car may start to overheat, and explanations as to why it may be happening.

On the highway: Watch your car’s temperature gauge. Does it seem to rise when you hit the highway? An engine that overheats at highway speeds could be due to problems, such as:

  • low coolant level
  • faulty radiator cap
  • obstructed radiator
  • faulty thermostat

When accelerating: If your car tends to overheat during acceleration or when you are driving it hard, it could mean your current radiator is not large enough or powerful enough to meet your needs. Try replacing your current radiator with a ôracing radiator. This type of radiator will be all aluminum with a multi-core.

If you live in hot climates, another option is to supply your radiator with a coolant-to-distilled-water ratio mix of 70:30.

Constant overheating: Do you feel as though your car overheats every time you turn around? A situation like this can be due to a series of problems, one being an obstruction in the radiator core. If this happens it will lose its ability to cool and flow coolant. Another reason your car may be overheating is if your radiator lacks coolant. Radiators require coolant in order to keep your engine from overheating, so without it, your temperature gauge will quickly get stuck on hot.

Idling in traffic: Sitting in traffic is the worst! Well, until you see your car is also overheating. Double bummer! If your car is overheating when idling in traffic or at very low speeds, you are probably suffering from a lack of airflow through the radiator. First, check to make sure the radiator is not obstructed by leaves or trash. If it’s not, you may have one or two problems:

  • radiator damage
  • faulty electric fan, fan clutch or fan switch

Now that you know a few possibilities as to what may be happening under your car’s hood, here are some necessary steps to take when your car overheats.

  1. Turn off the A/C. Your car’s A/C is located in front of the radiator and warms incoming air. This reduces the efficiency of the radiator, so keep the A/C off.
  2. Turn on the heat - full blast. This works by drawing heat energy out of the coolant and away from the engine.
  3. Pull over and turn off the ignition. Once the engine has completely stopped, turn the key to the ON position (but don’t actually restart the car!). This will allow your car’s electric fans to run, helping to cool the engine down.

Word to the wise. Never drive if your engine is overheating. Otherwise, you risk serious engine damage and very costly repairs.

For all of your car needs, visit our dealership in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Washington Honda specializes in new and used Honda cars, trucks, hybrids and SUVs.
Located in Washington, PA. Serving Greater Pittsburgh, Canonsburg, Charleroi, McMurray and Waynesburg, Pennsylvania; and Morgantown and Wheeling, West Virginia.

This entry was posted in Washington Honda and tagged Washington Honda, automotive services, Car Engines, Car Services, Honda CR-V, overheating car, Washington Car Service, washington honda service on 03/18/2016 at 6:31 PM