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“Why is my car engine over heating? What causes an engine to overheat”
I hear this question all the time on my websites and especially during the hotter summer months. I made this short video to help you determine what might be the cause of your overheating problem and what you can rule out as not causing the issue before you go to your mechanic. This can save you some time, frustration and money by doing so.
“My engine overheats at freeway speeds”
When you are on the freeway you have lots of airflow across the radiator which helps remove the heat that the engine antifreeze/coolant has accumulated from the cooling system. Since the engine is running at a much higher RPM than that at idle, the water pump is spinning around and pumping coolant at a much higher rate as well.
If there is a restriction in the radiator, the coolant will not be allowed to circulate fast enough inside the engine. The coolant will basically be roadblocked inside the radiator due to the restriction. A radiator usually gets build up of rust, minerals and calcium type deposits at the BOTTOM of the radiator. This restriction really can not be removed by “flushing” with a garden hose. In most cases this restriction will require a new radiator.
Think of this type of engine overheating problem like this. You are trying to run a 10 mile marathon, but you have to do it with your mouth taped shut. You can walk with your mouth shut but running at full steam for a long distance requires more air than your nose can provide. A restricted radiator is the biggest culprit in an engine overheating complaint on the freeway or at higher speeds. Although, if the radiator is low on coolant….that can also be the problem, so check coolant level first.
“I am constantly having to add coolant to my radiator, do I have a leak?”
Anytime I hear of a coolant leak or engine overheating complaint I ALWAYS start my diagnosis with a cooling system pressure test.
“My auto mechanic said I have a head gasket leak in my car”
I get tons, literally tons of emails each week with this question. I would say that most of them are NOT having a headgasket problem but rather a lazy auto mechanic problem who failed to do a proper cooling system pressure test.
Here are a few common symptoms I would expect to see if you had a blown headgasket or any other internal coolant leak.
1. Constantly having to add coolant to the radiator, with no visible external leaks found
2. White steam/smoke coming out the tailpipe, and worse or more smoke at freeway speed
3. Failing a cooling system pressure test, meaning the air pressure gauge drops but there are no external leaks to be seen.
4. An engine miss fire, due to coolant leaking inside the cylinders and fouling out the spark plugs. Lack of overall engine power and performance.
5. Usually a yellow check engine light will be on the dash, since the computer sees the engine miss fire and stores that code inside the computer memory.
6. Lack of engine compression. A manual compression test should be done on each cylinder to prove that there is a compression problem with 1 or more cylinder. This is different from the PRESSURE test which I mentioned above.
7. White powdery residue on the inside tip of the spark plug. When coolant enters the cylinder on the inside of the engine (which It should not be doing) the engine is going to try and burn that coolant, which it will have a very hard time doing. This coolant is what causes the engine to miss fire and produce the steam white smoke out the tailpipe. A white powdery residue will some times form on the internal engine tip of the spark plug.
If you have any of those symptoms AND you have rule out all other possible issues then you might want to consider trying this very simple and effective head gasket sealer you can do yourself. I have had great success with it over the years. It’s a sealer additive made by K&W, called Engine Block Sealer, but don’t use it as the can direction say. I think my way of using it works much better and its much easier.
Do NOT use a radiator stop leak additive! check out my sites for more free information
https://www.trustmymechanic.com/forum (ask your questions for free on my forum board)
Watch more Basic Plumbing videos: https://www.howcast.com/videos/513656-How-to-Fix-Common-Leaks-Basic-Plumbing
Okay. So I’m going to talk for a few minutes about how to fix some of the most common plumbing leaks that you might see in your home or business. Okay. But first, before I go into that I should talk about the types of joints that you have. When we say “joints” in the plumbing world, we’re talking about connections between pipes of like or unlike materials. So one of the most common is what we call an IPS joint. IPS stands for iron pipe size, this being an iron pipe. This is most likely found in gas, which is a no-no, so stay away from it. But this also translates to other pipes, too. You could have a brass pipe, all right, exactly the same as this, which is called a nipple, but this would be made out of brass. That would found in a water distribution system. Okay.
This is a three-quarter IPS steel nipple. You could just as samely have a three-quarter IPS brass nipple. So let’s just assume that this nipple is brass. Okay. And when you have a leak on something like this, as long as it’s not decayed or old or banged-up or dented or otherwise destroyed, okay, you can seal that leak by doing two things. One is Teflon tape. Okay. This is a non-sticky type of sealing tape. Okay. I always try to take the first few inches of it off and get rid of it, because it’s been dusty. Okay. What you want to do is you can see that tape is just kind of laid on the tip of my finger. I would take the pipe that I’m going to be sealing and wrap the tape around it three times. One, in the direction of the joint so turning clockwise, two, three.
A lot of amateurs and homeowners will try to mummify the threads of these things in tape. It’s just not necessary. Three is the number. Now that could actually serve. That could be enough. But I also like to use pipe dope, the amusingly named pipe dope, or pipe thread sealant. Okay. And again, same as in my video about soldering a joint, you don’t need a ton of this stuff. The first three threads are more than enough. When you take your Master Plumber’s exam with the City of New York, they’ll actually fail you for using too much of this.
Okay. Just kind of go gently around, and make sure that you’ve got a film of it on these threads. So now you’ve got a sealed joint. Okay. Now if we were taking this, and if it were brass and we’re screwing it into a fitting in the wall, we’re turning it clockwise into the fitting. And you’re going to feel it stop. It’s going to be too much for your hands to do. That’s when your trusty Channel Locks come in or a wrench. You would grab down and turn it in. A lot of people use the Incredible Hulk type strength to turn these things in. It’s not necessary. These thread, you can see this side better, they’re tapered. Okay. As you turn a nipple in, and IPS nipple in, those threads will bury into the fitting. You’ll leave about four threads. It’s enough. It’s enough.
You don’t need to kill it. You don’t need to put it in there like it’s never, ever going to come out of there again. Just snug is good. If you have to do it more than that, there’s something wrong. Maybe you’ve damaged the threads, or maybe the fitting is bad. Maybe the threads are damaged. So you don’t need to kill it putting it in there. That’s an IPS joint. Another type of joint that you will see in the plumbing system is a compression joint. Now a compression joint works in a very, very different mechanism. Okay. This here is what we call a three-eighths compression coupling, coupling meaning it joins two sections of three-eighths pipe together. All right. This works on a nut-and-ferrule system. This is the nut, and the ferrule, this little brass ring. What happens with this type of joint, notice the threads are only in this nut to hold the ferrule down to the pipe.
It’s kind of a neat way of working. They call it compression because when you slip this nut over the pipe, followed by the ferrule, now we’re over a pipe and we’re going to thread it onto this coupling. Okay. As you turn this nut down, that brass ring, that brass ferrule inside actually crushes down to the pipe wall. And it crushes down so tight that it effectively makes one piece of pipe. Once you crush the ferrule down to the pipe, it’s on the pipe forever. If you need to make a repair, you have to get rid of it, cut in another joint, and then fix it that way.
But that’s another type of joint. So this would be the other side. You’d put your nut over the pipe first, followed by the ferrule. You thread it on, and then you would kind of hold that with two pair of Channel Locks or two adjustable wrenches, and just join that together. It’s a very, very tight what we call a mechanical joint. This is a mechanical joint. The l