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Engine Overheats on Extended Use

Your Engine Overheats on Long Drives or Sitting in Traffic


In some cases your engine may be running fine, and may seem to be cured of its overheating problem except on extended drives or long sits in traffic. If this is the case with your car or truck, check out the following things to look out for and suggestions.

Symptom: Engine overheats. Engine runs fine but gets very hot while driving. This problem usually occurs after moderate to extended periods of driving. You may or may not notice steam coming from the hood or smell coolant.

Possible causes:

  1. Engine coolant level may be too low.
    The Fix: Refill coolant to proper level.
  2. Engine's drive belts may be broken or slipping.
    The Fix: Tighten or replace belts.
  3. The electric cooling fan may not be coming on.
    The Fix: Repair or replace cooling fan. Repair wiring. Replace cooling fan temp sensor.
  4. The ignition timing may be set wrong.
    The Fix: Adjust ignition timing.
  5. There may be a vacuum leak.
    The Fix: Check and replace vacuum lines as required.
  6. The engine may have mechanical problems.
    The Fix: Check compression to determine engine condition.
  7. There may be a leak in the cooling system.
    The Fix: Repair leak and refill coolant.
  8. Cylinder head gasket(s) may be bad.
    The Fix: Replace cylinder head gasket(s).
  9. Car is over loaded or driven too hard.
    The Fix: Lighten the load and back off the gas.
  10. The radiator or block may be clogged.
    The Fix: Reverse flush cooling system and fill with fresh coolant.
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