Your Truck or Car Has Coolant, but the Engine Is Still Overheating? What Causes, What to Do and How to Prevent

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Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

Engine overheating can occur for a few different reasons. Some of them are small and easily fixable, but if left unfixed, they can cause a lot of damage to your car’s drivetrain. Here we’ll talk about some of the causes, what to do if it happens to you, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Even if your car isn’t currently overheating, it’s best to read on and learn what you can do to prevent car overheating problems and be prepared if it does ever happen to you! 

Knowing about this before it happens can mean the difference between a cheap and easy fix and a completely ruined engine. 

5 Reasons a Car Running Hot

There are a few things that cause a car to overheat. Let’s check them out:

Insufficient Coolant

If you just began driving a new car, it may be that there isn’t enough coolant circulating around the engine. If you’re sure it’s been properly filled, there may be a leak somewhere in the system, slowly depleting the amount of coolant in the system being the reason your car keeps overheating. You also have to be sure your car has the correct type of coolant in it. 

Radiator Issues

Your car engine has a radiator that uses airflow to help dissipate heat away from your engine. If your radiator is leaking, damaged, or clogged, it won’t function properly, and heat will build up within the engine bay, which will make a car run hot

A Blocked Coolant Hose

If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my car overheating, but it has coolant in it?” It may mean that there’s some debris in the system that’s blocking the flow of coolant. 

A Damaged Water Pump

The coolant within your engine relies on a water pump to effectively circulate it, but when it’s not circulating properly, it causes a car to overheat.

A Faulty Temperature Gauge

Your car’s cooling system has an internal thermostat used to measure your engine’s temperature. If it isn’t working properly, it may not be the reason the car overheats, but rather it would tell you your perfectly running engine is overheating. This is a simple fix, and you may be happy to hear that it’s not more serious! 

What to Do If the Engine Is Overheating

Now that we’ve discussed car overheating causes let’s talk about what to do if your car is experiencing overheating problems. You can do a few things to prevent serious damage if you spot the warning signs fast enough.

  1. Turn the heater on! Yes, even during the summer. Your car’s air conditioning and heating system are hooked up to your car engine, so one of the quickest ways you can help remove heat is to use the heater to pull heat away from the engine and into your car.
  2. Pull over! Find a safe place for you to pull over as soon as possible and turn off the engine. The explosions from the gas and air inside your engine’s cylinders are what cause cars to overheat, so if you shut off the engine, it won’t produce any more heat. 
  3. Let the engine cool naturally. Engine overheating causes extreme damage to the whole drivetrain of your car, so you’ll want to let it cool down once you have found a safe space to park. 

What You Shouldn't Do When Your Car Overheats

There are things to do when your car overheats, like we mentioned above, but there are also things NOT to do! These are just as important because if you do any of the following, there will be even more damage and the cost of repair will go up significantly! Let’s take a look:

1. Do not keep driving! If you keep driving your car running hot, what might be a simple and somewhat cheap fix will turn into a complete-blown engine

2. Do not open the radiator cap! The radiator is filled with extremely hot fluid that will result in a plume of steam shooting out of it and at you. Very dangerous, NEVER remove the radiator cap while the car is hot. Let it cool off naturally, as we mentioned above.

3. Don’t wait! Wait for your engine to cool on its own, yes. Do not wait to get it looked at by a professional. If you have Triple-A(AAA), you can call a tow truck to take you to the nearest service station. The longer you drive your car with a broken cooling system, the greater the chances that you’ll do major damage to your engine. 

To Sell Or Not To Sell

If you’ve ruled out radiator overheating and coolant overheating, but still your truck is overheating, there may be a more serious problem. A car getting hot every time you drive it is indicative of a bigger problem than just a small leak or low coolant. In some cases, it may be easier and cheaper to junk the whole car and start new instead of trying to fix an ongoing problem. In extreme vehicle overheating cases, it will have caused the motor to fail. The cost to replace a wrecked engine can be huge! If that’s the case with your car, it might be better to trade it in to a junk car buyer for cash

JunkCarsUS will offer you a top dollar instant offer for your broken down, non-running cars or trucks. If you and your mechanic can’t find the reasons for a car overheating, it’s likely that your car is a lost cause, and it would be best to get rid of it altogether. We take nearly any car in any condition, including cars and trucks with blown engines caused by overheating. We have the highest price guarantee of any junk car buyer and can offer you an instant offer with same-day services! Our free towing service means you don’t have to worry about driving your overheating car anywhere. Go on our scrap car value calculator or contact us to see how much money you can get for your junk car today! 

Call us now (855) 547-1550
or email us to

Receive a guaranteed highest price quote for your junk car by filling in the form online.

We’re open Mon-Fri: 8 am - 8 pm, Sat: 8 am - 3 pm

3 Tips to Prevent Vehicle Overheating

There are reasons for engine overheating, but luckily, there are also some easy solutions to making sure that doesn’t happen. If your car is overheating, the problem is already there, but let’s take a look at how to prevent it from reaching that point:

Regularly check your coolant level

There will be a small plastic container with a “minimum level” mark for your coolant underneath the hood. Checking this regularly to make sure it’s not slowly decreasing is an easy way for you to make sure you don’t have any leaks in your cooling system

Get regular maintenance

Every car has a suggested regular maintenance schedule. Keeping up to date with this suggested service will ensure your local mechanic checks all the things that need to be checked, including the entire cooling system. 

Check your radiator belts and fan

The radiator is the main component in your car's cooling system, but it needs the fan to be in prime working order for it to work effectively. The fan is driven by a belt, so all components need to be working for your car to stay cool. If you’re not sure what to look for, take it to your trusted local mechanic and ask them to look at it for you. 


Why does my car always get overheated?

There are five most common reasons that cause overheating of cars. They are insufficient coolant, issues with a radiator, a blocked coolant hose, a damaged water pump, and a defective temperature gauge.

What should I do if my car runs hot?

There are a few ways to prevent serious damage caused when a vehicle gets overheated. First, turn the heater on to cool off the engine. After this, try to find a safe place to pull over your car and turn off its engine. At last, you can let your vehicle cool naturally.

Can I open the radiator cap if my car is overheated?

No, it is too risky! Please, do not open the radiator cap when a vehicle is overheated. This can lead to hard skin burns with a plume of steam from the radiator. Just wait and let it cool off naturally.

Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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