It might be cold outside, but your engine can still get too hot

By Product Expert | Posted in Service, Tips & Tricks on Thursday, January 10th, 2019 at 5:01 pm
A stock photo of a person with a broken vehicle calling for help.

Can a car overheat in the winter?

Winter in the great state of Tennessee can certainly be beautiful, but it rarely gets bitterly cold like it does for our friends who live further north. Just because the temperatures get a bit lower, a vehicle’s engine will always have heat to spare. On the occasion when someone calls the Gwatney Mazda of Germantown Service Department to ask, ‘Can a car overheat in the winter,’ they are often surprised when we tell them that it is very possible. An overheating vehicle engine is a bad situation to be in, especially when the weather outside is frightful – or worse. If you need any help or advice about how to get the most out of your vehicle, Mazda or otherwise, make an appointment to see a service expert today.

READ MORE: Here’s how you can save a little extra gas

What causes an engine to overheat?

Without getting too deep in the weeds of automotive engineering, an internal combustion engine works by using small and contained explosions to drive the vehicle. It’s fairly easy to wrap one’s head around the idea that this creates a fair amount of heat. While some of this heat is necessary, a vehicle’s cooling system is designed to dissipate as much of the excess heat as possible.

When this process fails, an engine overheats, a lot of things can happen. Few of them are good and even fewer of them are cheap to fix.

The system that is responsible for doing the lion’s share of this important work is a radiator filled with coolant. By and large, this is a very simple, closed loop system that doesn’t have many moving parts. As long as the radiator holds coolants and the series of pumps continue to circulate fluid, everything should be just fine.

However, it’s important to change engine coolant on time and to pay attention to any leaks that might occur.

What should I do if my engine overheats?

In the event an engine starts to overheat, the most important thing a driver can do is to get out of the way of traffic and to shut off the engine as soon as possible. The longer the temperature in an engine is allowed to rise, the worse the eventual damage will be.

Once your vehicle is stopped, open the hood and let the air the help with cooling. However, under no circumstances should you remove the radiator cap. The system is under pressure and hot coolant could spray everywhere, potentially causing injury. If possible, call for help and have your vehicle towed to the nearest service center.

Are you tired of worrying when your vehicle is finally going to breakdown for good? Stop by the Gwatney Mazda of Germantown showroom today to see what we have available.

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