Early signs of engine overheat

Early signs of engine overheat

When internal combustion engines work, they generate a lot of heat. This heat is removed by the coolant through the radiator. Also the engine oil helps to circulate and thereby indirectly remove the heat. 

When there is a problem with the cooling system, the result is most likely an overheating engine.

Engine overheat if not caught early can result to catastrophic engine failure. 

The ability to quickly sense that the engine is overheating or is about to overheat can potentially save the car owner spending on engine repairs or replacement.

Below are common causes of Overheating:

° Faulty radiator
° Faulty water pump
° Bad drive belt for water pump
° Blocked exhaust
° Excessively running lean
° Bad thermostat
° Faulty radiator or overflow tank cover
° Kinked hoses
° Air trapped in the cooling system
° Radiator fan fault
° Wrong direction of rotation of radiator fan
° Wrong spark plug heat range
° Binding brakes
° Low coolant level
° Bad head gasket
° Cooling system leak
° Cracked expansion tank
° Over concentrated coolant

When an engine begins to overheat, heat is not being transferred from the engine to the environment. This leads us to the early sign of Overheating.

One of the first signals before the car warns about overheating:

One of the first thing you may notice before you are notified about overheating on the dash is a ticking sound which is called pinging.

Pinging happens when the combustion temperature inside the engine rises above the normal combustion temperature. There are other causes of pinging. For instance, pinging due to detonation as a result of poor fuel octane rating or as a result of overly advanced engine timing.

Whenever you hear a pinging sound whenever you want to accelerate, quickly look out for other signs of Overheating. It is advisable to park, open the hood carefully to check if there is occurrence of Overheating.
Note: Do not open the radiator or expansion tank cover when the engine has not cooled considerably. The pressure in the system can force the hot coolant out with force therefore causing injury to anybody who is close.


° Steam coming out of the hood
° Bonnet that is hot beyond normal
° Cooling fan running unusually after putting off the car
° Smell of steam/boiling coolant
° Loss of power
° Rise in the temperature guage