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Causes of overheating in cars and how to fix it

 Have you been driving on the highway and suddenly seen smoke coming from under your car hood? Overheating in engines happens regularly in Nigeria due to the hot climate and some other mechanical faults. In this article, I will be listing the causes of overheating and how to prevent your car from overheating so your Nigerian mechanic don’t tell you “ Oga, your top gasket don burn o”.

Common causes of overheating in cars

 There are so many factors that lead to overheating in vehicles, I will be listing them below:

  • Using coolants not meant for your vehicle: this is common in Nigeria. Some Nigerians just use water as coolants. Most will tell you that buying recommended coolants for your car is a waste of money because water can serve the same purpose. That’s a lie, water cannot serve as a coolant. Always use recommended coolants for your car, if you don’t know the recommended coolant for your car, you can drop a comment below.
  • Using little coolants: Due to cost, so many people are forced to use a lesser quantity of coolants, and this affects your engine adversely. Always make sure you use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze/coolant and water to fill your coolant reservoir.
  • Leakage in the cooling system: Checking your car properly in the morning before hitting the streets will save you from so many things. In a situation where there is leakage in the cooling system, the engine will have little or no coolant to cool the system.
  • A broken water pump: The water pump circulates the coolant throughout the engine. The water pump will find it hard to pump dirty coolants and that’s why you should change your coolants after a specified time.
  • Bad and dirty radiator: A radiator is designed to disperse the heat collected from the engine, but in a situation where the radiator is dirty, it retains the heat and the pump sends that hot coolant into the engine. If this repeats for some time, the vehicle will overheat.
  • Thermostat failure:  The thermostat regulates the engine temperature. In a situation where the thermostat is bad, the engine won’t get the required quantity of cooling effect it needs and that will cause the engine temperature to keep increasing.
  • Issues with belts and hoses: worn belts and bad hoses reduce coolant flow which causes the engine to overheat.
  •  Low oil level and bad oil: some people like cutting corners, they always go for oils sold by the roadside instead of buying unadulterated oil that will last longer as well as serve its purpose in the engine. When there is less lubrication in the cylinder, more friction on the walls of the cylinders will generate more heat than the cooling system can’t handle.

How to prevent your engine from overheating

  • Always make use of recommended coolant for your engine. Stop making use of water only as coolant, it will also cause engine rust.
  • Check your car for coolant leaks before hitting the streets.
  • Always wash your radiator regularly.
  • Check the belts and hoses to make sure they are good.
  • Always have an extra bottle of new antifreeze and a gallon of water in your trunk.
  • Monitor your car thermostat as you are driving.
  • Help cool the engine by running the heat at the first sign of overheating. ‘

What to do when you discover that your car is overheating

 Once the warning light comes on, and you notice a strange smell, follow the steps below:

  • Pullover immediately to save your car from going up in flames. Keep moving only when necessary.
  • Turn on the heat.
  • Open all the windows
  • Do not try to open the bonnet of your car because it will be very hot.

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