Car Engine Temperature too high? Do’s & Don’ts

Imagine running late for an important meeting, or out on a dream date, and suddenly noticing fumes rising from the front of your car. It’s the stuff of nightmares – and yet entirely too common. 

Overheated car engines are a common phenomenon, especially during the summer, and it’s always better to be prepared. Nothing like a little self-sufficiency to impress that dream date! 

Signs of Engine Overheating

Here’s a quick checklist of what to do when you see the first signs of engine overheating:

  • This one’s obvious, but let’s say it anyway. Do not drive further! Immediately pull over and exit the vehicle
  • If you are using the defroster or the AC in your car, immediately switch if off and roll down the windows
  • Stop the car by the side and make sure that the passengers in the car are out of the vehicle
  • Open the hood of the car to improve ventilation and allow the trapped smoke to escape. This should visibly improve the situation at hand and make it easier for you to figure out what went wrong
  • Make sure that there are no ancillary problems with your vehicle like fuel or coolant leakage. If such leaks are spotted, double check there are no open fire sources near the vehicle
  • Call for assistance – if possible

What Causes High Engine Temperature

Now that you have ticked off all the initial measures that can be undertaken, it is time to figure out what went wrong in the first place. Your engine temperature could have risen because of the following reasons:

  1. Dysfunctional radiator fan: The general function of a radiator fan is to ensure airflow inside the vehicle so that the engine does not overheat. The radiator fan could break down due to a number of reasons, ranging from a simple electric failure or unprofessional vehicle engine maintenance to general wear and tear.

  1. Coolant compatibility: The cooling system of your vehicle is only as good as the coolant you use. Make sure that the coolant used is properly diluted in keeping with the guidelines of the vehicle. While engaging in engine repair or replacement service ensure that the mechanic cleans out the coolant passageways to ensure efficient movement of the fluid.

  1. Flawed thermostat: The thermostat is the regulator that synchronises the cooling system of the vehicle. A broken or impaired thermostat would not be able to regulate the coolant efficiently, and your engine would overheat.

  1. Broken water pump: The water pump can be considered as the heart of the cooling system. It adjusts pressure to propel the coolant throughout the system. Water pumps can suffer from a variety of problems including erosion and physical damage, all of which will result in the coolant not flowing properly and thus overheating the vehicle.

  1. Disruptive belt issues: A common problem mechanics overlook during car engine repair is torn belts, especially the water pump belt. A torn belt means a lower volume of the coolant flowing through the system, and higher engine temperature.

  1. Insufficient motor oil levels: Motor engine oil is an integral element that helps boost the overall performance of your car. Since the oil helps the parts move efficiently, it also prevents heat from building up. Low oil levels = more overheating.

  1. Other radiator issues: The radiator is the brain of the cooling system, and by that extension, any failure on the radiator’s part would result in an overall decrease in the efficiency rate of the system. Leaks and clogs have been a common complaint resulting from poor vehicle engine management.

Here’s What to do & NOT to do :

Sometimes instinct kicks in, and you might want to pop the hood open and pour cold water on the radiator. This is a bad idea! When you pour cold water over the extremely high temperature of the radiator, and force it to cool down rapidly, your engine could crack. Experiment at your own risk!

All said and done, we believe that prevention is better than cure. Here are some quick tips to avoid engine overheating in the first place:

  • Avoid using air conditioning in extremely hot weather
  • Set reminders to check your car’s coolant levels every few weeks, and just to be safe, carry a bottle of antifreeze in your trunk
  • Depending on your car make and model, ensure you stay on top of coolant service flushes


Car engine repair and replacement service form the cornerstone of vehicle engine maintenance. So, if you find your car engine temperature rising too high, a timely diagnosis can fix the issue, and you can avert any possible accidents on the road. You can contact Instant Car Repair Calgary team for any professional auto repair service.

Additional Reads

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