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Signs your car is overheating

While a car overheating is somewhat rare with new vehicles, it can still happen to the best of us. Knowing the warning signs that your engine is overheating can save your car from some serious damage. Many different issues with your cars radiator and cooling systems can cause your engine to overheat. These could be anything from leaking coolant or a stuck thermostat. But before you know why your car is overheating, you need to know the signs and how to spot it.

The signs

A hot hood

Keep an eye on the temperature of your vehicles hood. While your cars hood will naturally be quite warm to the touch if the car has been running, an extremely high temperature could be cause for concern. A good gauge of this is that you should generally be able to hold your hand on your cars hood for 5-10 seconds without burning your hand. If you can’t do this, your car could be running at too high of a temperature.

Ticking noise

When engine oil is overheated, it loses its lubricating properties. This causes the oil to behave more like water. When this happens, you will generally notice a ticking noise. This is the oil failing to lubricate the parts sufficiently due to its high temperature. Parts will then hit each other and create ticking noises, where they would usually glide together thanks to the oil lubricant. While ticking noises can be the result of many different issues with your vehicle, overheating is typically one of the most common.

Overheating coolant

Commonly confused with being smoke, a cloud of steam coming out from under the hood is a tell-tale sign of an overheating car. When your car is overheating, the coolant that is inside your vehicle also overheats. This causes it to evaporate and result in steam coming out of the hood. Leaking coolant due to overheating can also show itself as a puddle of coolant underneath the car. This is because the coolant boiled over and leaked onto the ground.


An overheating engine can sometimes result in rubber seals and plastic valves melting, which emit an unusual odour. Another odour that could be because of overheating is a sweet but toxic smelling odour, which is generally coolant overheating. Both of these smells are a strong sign that your engine is overheating and you are running into problems.

If you notice any of the following issues with your vehicle, pull over immediately and let the car cool down. Don’t pop the bonnet unless it’s safe to do so. If the car cools down sufficiently, drive it straight to a professional and get it looked at. Alternatively, if the vehicle is unsafe to drive, call your roadside assistance or a towing company and then visit Red Devil Radiators ASAP to resolve the issue and prevent any further cooling issues.


(07) 3260 5977

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(07) 3209 2611

(07) 3274 1064

(07) 5596 4296


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