Why Cars Overheat and Why It Matters: 6 Things All Subaru Owners Need to Know

Why Do Cars Overheat - Service Questions at Carlsen Subaru

Did you know that an engine that's overheating is likely causing major damage to itself? That's why it's not advisable to continue driving a car that chronically overheats! Instead, have any car that overheats looked at by the factory-trained professionals in an authorized Subaru service department -- like the one you'll find right here at Carlsen Subaru. Here are six reasons your car might begin to overheat.

Learn why your Subaru may overheat

Reason #6: Failing A/C Compressor

The central component of your car's air conditioning system is the compressor. On many modern cars, this little device is powered by a belt that's connected to the engine. As the compressor starts to wear out inside, it can become harder and harder for the engine to deliver the power it needs. Eventually, the A/C compressor can add so much load to the engine that it can even start to overheat. If turning off the A/C allows your car to return to a safe operating temperature, visit an authorized Subaru service shop to have the compressor repaired or replaced.

Schedule service for engine overheating at Carlsen Subaru

Reason #5: Low Oil Level

If the engine starts to overheat, and you haven't had the oil changed in a while, consider getting it changed. Most cars will alert you with a light in the dashboard if the oil level in the engine gets dangerously low. If the engine has burned oil, or some has leaked out, this can allow the engine to overheat. Oil flow helps keep the temperature down inside the engine -- if not enough oil is flowing, excess heat can build up and damage the engine.

Reason #4: Damaged/Rusty Radiator

Located at the front of your car, right behind the front grille, the radiator helps your engine dissipate heat. Coolant circulates through the engine, absorbing excess heat -- and that heat has to go somewhere. Hot coolant from the engine flows to the radiator, which spreads the coolant out over a wide surface area, where air flows over it as you drive along. This lowers the temperature of the coolant -- unless the radiator is damaged, rusted or corroded. If it's rusty inside, you might need a new one. What's more, the radiator can easily be damaged in front-end accidents, even mild ones, so be sure to watch the temperature gauge closely when driving away after a fender-bender. If the temperature rises too high, visit our service center for a fix.

Get answers about Subaru engine overheating from our service center in Redwood City, CA

3. Low Coolant Level

Just like you need the right amount of oil in the engine to keep it cool, you need the right amount of coolant in the cooling system. When the engine is cold, you can take a peek under the radiator cap. If the radiator looks empty inside, you may need to have coolant added to the system. The system is closed, meaning it should never lose any coolant. A low coolant level tells us there's a leak in the system, or coolant is being burned up inside the engine. Either way, this is a problem that needs to be fixed right away to prevent major engine damage.

2. Failed Radiator Fan

So, now you know that the radiator keeps your engine cool thanks to airflow as you drive along -- but what about when sitting still? That's where the radiator fans come in. These fans turn on automatically to keep air flowing across the radiator, even when your car is sitting still. These fans can fail over time, due to electrical failure or the fan motor itself simply burning out.

If you've ever noticed your engine temp climbs dangerously high when waiting at long red lights and in fast food drive-thrus, but goes back down once you get moving again, you may have bad radiator fans.

1. Blown Head Gasket

In a bit of a "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"-type scenario, a blown head gasket will quickly allow the engine to overheat -- but most head gaskets blow due to excessive heat in the first place.

What most drivers need to know is this: Once an engine begins operating at an unsafe temperature, metal components are beginning to bend and warp. Over time, this can cause the cylinder head to pull away from the engine block -- creating a leak in the head gasket which forms a seal in between them. Once that gasket starts to leak, the engine will continue to overheat until it can be repaired.

Repairing a blown head gasket can cost a pretty penny. So, want to know how to avoid a blown head gasket? The best thing you can do for your car's head gasket is to have the oil regularly changed to keep the gaskets fresh and lubricated, and to keep the engine from overheating in the first place. As soon as you see the temperature warning light in your dashboard, reach out to the experts at Carlsen Subaru. We'll fix your overheating issue before it can cause lasting damage to your car.

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  1. Carlsen Subaru

    480 Veterans Blvd
    Redwood City, CA 94063

    • Sales: (888) 520-5916

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Carlsen Subaru

480 Veterans Blvd
Directions Redwood City, CA 94063

  • Sales: 650-365-6390
  • Service : 650-365-6390
  • Parts: 650-365-6390

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