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Tips to Prevent Car Engine from Overheating

News2022-10-20 10:00:00
Source : Image by jcomp on Freepik

Overheating is a condition where the car engine is at a high temperature caused by the nonoptimal car components working performance. If you do not immediately bring the car to the repair shop, it will damage the engine and the other car components. 

The worst case of overheating is when the car engine experiences internal damage such as a curved cylinder head due to heat and incomplete combustion, so the engine should be overhauled.   

There are some symptoms of overheating that you can pay attention to, so you can do early anticipation. The first symptoms can be seen through the engine temperature indicator on the instrument cluster. 

You can find the instrument cluster on the dashboard — generally located above the steering wheel. 

On the older models, you can indicate a car is overheating if the pointer on the instrument cluster approaches the letter H. Meanwhile on the modern car,  you can indicate overheating by checking on the temperature gauges. If the light is red, the car is surely overheating. 

Then, the other symptoms of overheating are i.e. not cooling air-conditioning, a decrease in car performance, and unusual engine sound. 

The Causes of Car Engine Overheating 

It is important for you to know the causes of car engine overheating so that you can prevent it from happening. The following are the common factors that can cause a car to overheat: 

1. Wrong Choice of Engine Oil 

The main cause of a car overheating is the wrong choice of oil. The oil that is not suitable for the car's specifications will make the engine experience strong friction. Besides overheating, it can also cause severe damage to the engine. 

Therefore, always make sure to use oil that is recommended by the car manufacturer since it has been adjusted to the car's specifications. 

2. Radiator Issue

Radiator issue might be one of the reasons your car is experiencing overheating. As you might know, the radiator helps to maintain the car's temperature. Therefore, an issue with it may cause trouble with your car.

The radiator issue is often caused by the cracked rubber hose. When the rubber hose is cracked, a leak occurs so that the coolant is not distributed properly. You can handle this issue by replacing the rubber hose with the new one. The cost of a rubber hose range between Rp 200,000 to Rp 400,000.

3. Wrong Choice of Radiator Fluid

Another cause of car engine overheating is using the wrong radiator fluid. You have to avoid using ordinary fluids such as tap water. 

You should use coolant since it has a high boiling point so that it will not create any crust on the radiator components wall. And if your components wall already has some crust, coolant can remove it as well.

Furthermore, coolant has high durability since it contains propylene glycol which lasts for 2 years. It is equivalent to a mileage of 48,000 Km. 

Propylene glycol acts as a means of heat transfer for the engine, warming the engine when it’s cold and drawing heat away from components when its temperature rises.

Therefore, it is highly recommended for you to pick a coolant with 20-50% of propylene and 33%-50% glycol mixture as your radiator fluid.  

4. Faulty Cooling Fan 

You can also check on your cooling fan. The cooling fan is used to suck cool air from the outside of the car. If this fan is damaged, there will be no air change in the car engine. Thus, your engine will likely experience overheating. 

Generally, the cooling fan faulty is caused by a damaged dinamo or error in the installation process so that instead sucks cool air from the outside, it sucks high-temperature air from the inside. 

5. Thermostat Failure 

A thermostat failure may cause harm to the engine by not allowing the coolant flow as intended. There are some signals of a thermostat failure namely:

  • car producing unusual noises, 

  • car having low performance, 

  • car interior area is stiflingly hot,

  • car experiencing excessive fuel consumption.

If your car has those signals, you need to tune up your beloved car. 

6. AC Faulty

Have you ever experienced quick overheating — involving the heating up of the engine, dashboard, and seats — a few minutes after you turn on the AC? 

If your answer is yes, it is probably caused by AC failure. You can check whether the car's magnetic clutch, fan radiator, or cooling AC is faulty. 

Besides those parts, you have to check on the AC freon. If the amount is too much, it can lead to leakage which will impact the compressor performance.  

7. Wrong Choice of Fuel

In the previous section, we are talking about the wrong choice of oil. In this section, we will talk about the impact of using the wrong choice of fuel. 

Well, it turns out that the use of the wrong fuel will likely make the car engine overheat due to its octane level or anti-knock index rating, a standardized measure of that fuel’s ability to withstand the harsh compression characteristic of some engine types.

If the octane level in the gasoline you use is lower than what the car specifications need, the engine will ramp down the output to compensate for detonation resistance that is no longer provided by the gasoline.  

Hence, besides overheating, the wrong choice of gasoline will result in low engine performance and decreased fuel economy. 

8. Viscous Fan Faulty

Viscous fan is one of the components in a car radiator driven by the engine heat. If the car engine starts to heat, the viscous fan will rotate faster to bring the engine temperature back down. 

However, when the viscous fan is faulty, the rotation will deteriorate and eventually stop working. It means your engine has very little air being sucked through the main cooling fan and as a result, it can overheat. 

How to Prevent Car Engines from Overheating?

After knowing the common factors that can cause a car to overheat, you should know how to prevent it from overheating. Find the complete explanation below: 

Turn Off the Engine and Open The Hood

When you feel the engine start to heat while driving, you need to immediately come out from the car and open the hood carefully. Don’t allow the heat to stay in the rooms between the engines to prevent more damage. 

Examine the Radiator Coolant Reserve

Mobil memiliki cadangan air yang terhubung ke bagian atas radiator yang berfungsi untuk membantu Anda mengecek seberapa banyak air radiator yang tersisa. Melalui indikator ketinggian air, Anda bisa menambah cairan radiator ke posisi garis atas hingga menunggunya dingin. Kekurangan cairan pada radiator bisa membahayakan mesin mobil Anda. 

Hindari membuka tutup radiator langsung saat kondisi mesin masih panas. Hal tersebut akan membuat uap dan air bertekanan tinggi terlepas dan berisiko luka bakar jika terkena kulit Anda.

A car has a coolant reserve that is connected to the top of the radiator. It helps you maintain the amount of radiator fluid. 

If the reserve is lacking fluid, you have to immediately increase the amount of radiator coolant and wait for it until the engine cools down. 

One thing you need to note is to avoid opening the radiator cap if the engine is still hating. Opening the radiator cap in that condition can cause burns on your skin.

Examine Leakage in Cooling System 

The next thing you need to do is to check whether there is leakage in your car cooling system. If the radiator or cylinder head is damaged, then there is a high possibility of leakage in the cooling system. You can examine the radiator, engine block, or cylinder head. However, if you are not sure what to do, we suggest you just bring your beloved car to the nearest repair shop. 

If It is Possible, Call for Help

Don’t take the engine overheating lightly. If the overheating is severe you better not run the car and call for help. Get a tow truck to bring your car to the nearest repair shop.  

However, if the issue is minor, such as a lack of radiator fluid, you are probably still able to fix it and continue driving. Here is a list of safe ways to drive your overheating car:

  • Turn off the AC.

  • Always pay attention to the engine temperature indicator. 

  • Turn on the heater to reduce the engine’s heat. 

  • Turn off the engine and turn it on again so that the radiator fan keeps working

  • Drive the car at a stable speed.

  • Avoid traffic jams.

Those tips mentioned before are not exactly how to fix an overheated car engine. It is just some ways to help you drive longer in order to get professional help at the repair shop. 

Car Engine Overheating Service Cost Estimation

Memperbaiki mobil yang cepat panas atau overheat tidak hanya dengan mengganti air radiator saja. Perlu ada pengecekan lebih lanjut di bengkel dengan teknisi andal. Pasalnya saat mobil mengalami overheat, ada beberapa komponen mesin yang ikut rusak sehingga biaya servis overheat akan bergantung pada tingkat kerusakannya. 

Repairing an overheating car is not done merely by changing the radiator fluid. However, you need to take further examination by professionals to find out whether there is further damage to the engine. 

The cost estimation for the repair service starts from Rp 300,000 up to Rp 700,000. However, if there are any damaged engine components that have to be replaced, the cost estimation will range from 5 million rupiahs to 20 million rupiahs.

Then, as we have mentioned before, there is a risk of engine overhaul if a car is frequently overheating and not being taken care of professionally.

Meanwhile, the cost for overhaul is quite expensive but the exact cost varies. It is all according to the type of car, service, and components that need to be replaced.

Now, we will give a definite example of the overhaul cost of Avanza.


Overhaul Cost

Overhaul cost

Rp2.000.000 -Rp5.000.000


Rp5.000.000 – Rp10.000.000

Overhaul service cost


Packing set replacement

Rp 1,500,000

Piston replacement

Rp 1,800,000

Piston handlebar

Rp 325,000

Press piston handlebar

Rp 150,000

Ring piston

Rp 450,000

Engine mounting Replacement

Rp 630,000

Other costs  (silicon glue, engine oil, oil filter, gear oil, dan axle)

Rp 690,000

Now you can see clearly that the cost to repair an overheating car engine is not cheap.  Therefore, it is better for you to have separate savings for this case.  Okay, that is all of the information we can provide on tips to prevent the car engine from overheating. Adios! 

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