Baffled blonde is frustrated by her car's smoking engine 4

Car Overheated? Don’t Push It

August 6, 2020 11:44 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Can you drive while your car is overheating? Only if you want to experience a complete breakdown or pay for expensive repairs in Madison, TN. If your car is overheating, you need to get it somewhere and park it immediately—preferably with your favorite mechanic. Otherwise, you risk damaging it further. Here are five risks of driving an overheated car:

  • Hoses under pressure: Many cars overheat because they leak coolant, but if that is not the cause, coolant remains in your engine. If your car has a damaged thermostat or other issue that is not linked to a coolant shortage, engine temperatures may boil coolant. This causes intense pressure in the radiator hoses, and they can eventually burst. Warm coolant will spray everywhere, making a mess, but also posing a danger if you open your hood at the wrong time. Once it all settles down, you have an additional problem: your car will need new hoses.
  • Warped cylinder heads: Internal combustion engines run on heat, which is only a problem when there is an issue with your cooling system. Many vehicles contain aluminum cylinder heads, which cannot withstand excessive heat. So, if you allow your car to overheat and continue driving, this causes the heads to warp. The warping compromises vehicle performance and leads to misfiring, oil leaks and oil burning.
  • Blown head gaskets: You are lucky if your cylinder heads merely warp. Sure, that is still an expensive repair to address, but your car will still run, and it will cost less than a blown head gasket. Once that occurs, you are facing the worst-case scenario, and the most costly scenario for any make or model of vehicle. Antifreeze mixes with oil, which causes further engine damage. In the most serious cases, you are looking at a full engine replacement.
  • Exhaust system damage: Heat is not good for your exhaust system either. As your car overheats, hot gases continue traveling through your exhaust system. These systems are designed to handle some heat, but not the pressure that arises with an overheated car. As this demands more from the catalytic converter and exhaust manifold, there will be reduced performance before you discover your exhaust system no longer functions. In many cases, parts may simply melt.
  • Widespread component failure: At this point, you are likely noticing that your car’s systems are designed to withstand heat, but only to certain levels. That’s why you have a radiator and coolant system. As heat rises and you continue to ignore the problem, components will likely melt. Welds, seals, belts and wiring will eventually dissolve or break, and your water and fuel pumps will also struggle before eventually failing. The problem will never be limited to just one system—you are likely looking at widespread failure.

It’s never a good idea to assume you can drive while your car is overheating. If your car is overheating in Madison, TN, Rivergate Muffler & Auto Repair can figure out why that’s happening and return you happily and safely to the road. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for auto maintenance or repair.

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