What Can Cause a Car to Overheat While Driving

There are many reasons for the overheating of a car. It could be a blockage in the radiator, a leak within the cooling system, a faulty thermostat or simply a failure of the water pump.

Whatever the reason, an overheated car results in a very bad situation for the driver and the commuters. An overheated engine also signals the fact there is something wrong with the vehicle.

An overheated engine usually manifests in spews of steam and warning lights on the dashboard . These warnings mean that the engine has become too hot and the driver needs to pull over in order to let the engine cool down . Solving the problem may prove to be time taking as well as quite expensive.

Overheating can ruin the engine of a vehicle. It can cause damage to an extent that the car may require a complete overhaul.whatever the case, it is almost certain that the car will require some serious inspection from the mechanic and most probably long hours of work. The costs incurred in terms of replacement parts is over and above that.

Related article: How to take care of your car engine

What Can Cause a Car to Overheat While Driving?

There are certain temperatures that are needed for the engine to run in a smooth manner.

Overheating occurs when the temperature of the vehicle reaches a point where the risk of sustaining damage rises. There are certain signs that the temperature of the engine is climbing up and the vehicle may be overheating.

No matter how big or small it is, every engine has a cooling system which is usually based on a liquid.

This liquid cooling system circulates a coolant within the engine. It dissipates the heat of the engine through the radiator.

There are many reasons for the overheating of the engine. Most of them come about because of theproblems with the circulation . however, they can manifest in different ways.

Leaks within the cooling system

When there is a leak, it allows air to enter the cooling system. This results in a drop of the coolant level and sucking in of the air causing an airlock. This is a bubble which the coolant is unable to push through. The coolant inside the engine becomes extremely hot.

Blockage in the cooling system

When the cooling system is blocked and the coolant cannot circulate within the system, the engine overheats.Some of the common reasons for this blockage are:

  • A stuck thermostat that cannot open when required .
  • An unwanted deposit of within the radiator.
  • An object within the cooling system that is hindering the flow of the coolant.

Related Article: Car coolant types and how it works

Water pump failure

Failure of the water pump is a regular cause of overheating. It is a very important part of the cooling system and helps maintain the circulation of the coolant.  The water pump is the most active component in the cooling system and is responsible for maintaining coolant circulation. With the passage of time, its functionality is impaired resulting in overheating.

The engine oil is another factor that helps in cooling. It also helps maintain the temperature of the entire system. One of the most important functions of the engine oil is to lubricate the different parts of the engine so that there is minimal friction between them when the engine is running. Many vehicles come with an engine oil cooler which works like a normal radiator. The oil dissipates the heat through the oil cooler.

How to solve the overheating problem

  • Replacing the water pump.
  • Replacing the flush
  • Replacing the thermostat
  • Changing the engine oil
  • Replacing the coolant hose.

Tips to prevent overheating

There are many ways in which overheating can be prevented .

  • Flushing the system at regular and reasonable intervals.
  • Getting the leaks repaired immediately.
  • Regular oil change.
  • Constant monitoring of the temperature guage.


Once the engine overheats, it is never advisable to take chances with it. As soon as there is an obvious sign of overheating, the mechanic should be immediately contacted and a thorough inspection of the car be carried out so that the problem can be diagnosed and fixed.

What Can Cause a Car to Overheat While Driving isn’t fix to above reason it can be occur from many unknown reason but the  most common causes of engine overheating occurred from these listed above.

About The Author

Avatar for Ibrar Ayyub

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer holding a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan, Pakistan University. With a background spanning various industries, particularly in home automation and engineering, I have honed my skills in crafting clear and concise content. Proficient in leveraging infographics and diagrams, I strive to simplify complex concepts for readers. My strength lies in thorough research and presenting information in a structured and logical format.

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