What is an inspection for a car running hotter than normal?

A car that runs hot typically indicates that the engine is hard at work and not cooling down enough. The thermostat on your dashboard is the best way to keep an eye on your vehicle’s temperature fluctuations.
If you notice that your car is running hot, take it to a mechanic for an inspection. The mechanic will examine the car’s cooling system to identify the source of the issue. The cooling system circulates coolant (a mixture of water and antifreeze) through your engine which absorbs heat as you drive, and is made up of several parts:
  • Radiator
  • Cooling fan
  • Thermostat
  • Water pump
  • Hoses
  • Coolant
If one of these parts dies or becomes faulty, it can throw the entire cooling system off.

How to get an inspection for a car running hotter than normal

A car that is running hot has not crossed over into full-blown overheating territory. As with many unplanned circumstances, it’s best to catch the problem early.
Since the thermostat is the only indicator that something may be amiss with the cooling system, contact a mechanic to check things out. Causes of a too hot engine could be:
  • Low coolant. Leaks, ruptured hoses, or hoses with loose clamps prevent the coolant from circulating properly through the engine. Coolant levels should be checked regularly, ensuring that the ratio of water to antifreeze is balanced and it isn’t leaking underneath the hood.
  • Cooling fan stopped running. The cooling fan draws air through the radiator when the car is driving slowly or idling in traffic. If it’s running slow or barely at all—it’s time to replace it.
  • Faulty thermostat. This is often the culprit if your car tends to overheat on the highway only. When the thermostat doesn’t open, the proper amount of coolant cannot go through the engine. A repair or replacement is a must.
  • Blocked coolant passages. The more miles you put on your car, the more engine gunk gets built up in the radiator. When the passageways are clogged, coolant cannot circulate to the engine and cool it down. Yearly radiator flushes are an affordable preventative measure.

How important is an inspection for a car running hotter than normal?

If you notice your car has a tendency to get hot while idling in the summer months, this is likely an environmental response and not a major cause for concern. But when you notice that the dashboard thermostat never seems to go down—or, worse, is getting hotter—it’s time to take it seriously. A habitually hot engine is a sign that the cooling system is not functioning at full capacity.
You will want to keep a close eye on your dash’s thermostat. A good rule of thumb is to not wait until the problem poses potentially expensive or irreversible damage to your car.

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