Posts Tagged ‘heat’


Why Is My Engine Temperature Changing?


When I watch my engine temp, it seems like it gets hot, then cools down, and fluctuates like that for a while.  Is that normal, or is there something wrong?

Ben P., IN


When the engine temperature fluctuates like that, it could be for a couple of reasons.  It’s possible that there’s not really anything wrong and that the thermostat is simply giving a bad signal.

It’s also possible however that there’s a problem with your cooling system.  Blockages in the coolant lines could be causing this, or the thermostat could be restricting the flow of coolant when it gets a bad reading.

First step to fix this is to get the thermostat checked out.  This is a pretty simple and cheap procedure, and the replacement shouldn’t be very expensive if it’s needed.

- Ken the Car Guy


Do I Need To Let My Car Warm Up?


I’ve got a general question for you.  Should you let a car warm up before driving it?  Now, I’m not asking about A/C or the heater, just in general.  I always let it warm up for 5 minutes or so before driving, but wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do.

-Michael B., IN


This is actually a more complicated answer than I think you were expecting.  In order to answer this question, I need to know if it’s fuel injected or not.  I also need to know what the temperature is outside.

You see, fuel injected cars are smart enough to regulate the fuel mixture to keep everything lubricated, but older cars are unable to do this and should warm up before any heavy driving.

As for temperature, if it’s really cold out (below 0) you should almost always let the car warm up before driving it… but then again if it’s really that cold, you’ll want to warm it up anyway to let it heat up inside!

- Ken the Car Guy


Is My Engine Seized?


My car overheated recently and now it won’t start.  A mechanic told me without even looking at it that the engine probably seized up and the car is totaled.  How can I tell if it has seized?

- Ethan S., OR


If the car overheated badly, it is possible that the engine is seized.  One easy way to tell is to use a socket wrench on the crankshaft and try to turn the engine over by hand.  Don’t worry if the wrench is difficult to turn at times, that’s just compression at work.  If you can’t turn the crankshaft over at all, then you probably are looking at a seized engine.

If the engine is still functional, your starter may have blown from the excessive heat, or there might be an electrical problem at work.

- Ken the Car Guy


Can Turning On The Heater Really Help On Hot Days?


I’ve heard people say that it’s a good idea to turn up the heat in your car on hot days.   Does this actually help?  Why?

- Dylan M., NV


While it might not sound comfortable, if your engine is overheating it can help to crank the heat.  The reason this works is that the energy used to heat your car comes from the heat created by the operation of your engine.  If it’s hot enough outside that the radiator can’t disperse heat fast enough, you can give your engine a break by pumping some of that excess heat through your vents.

That being said, overheating can also be an indicator that your engine isn’t running as well as it should.  You may have dirty oil or not enough water in your radiator.  If your engine overheats on cool days as well it’s probably time for a tune up.

- Ken the Car Guy