My Car Runs Hot. Do I Need a Coolant Flush?

by | Oct 8, 2014 | Auto Questions

So, you’re driving along, and suddenly you notice the temperature gauge registers “hot”.  What do you do?

Well, one of our customers experienced this.  This particular customer owned a 2001 Audi. The car had been running fine and then it overheated. The temperature gauge went up very high. The good thing is that he stopped as soon as could and had the car towed to our shop. This avoided thousands of dollars in potential damage!

Was a coolant flush the fix? No, it is rare that flushing the cooling system will cure overheating, especially in this case as there was no history of the vehicle running on the hot side.

If a customer neglects the cooling system for a long time and then reports that the engine is running progressively hotter a flush may fix the problem or at least make it run a little cooler.  What’s important to know is that a neglected cooling system can cause a lot of damage so it is best to have your cooling system flushed every three years or 50,000 miles if you are using long life antifreeze or every two years or 25,000 miles if you are using regular antifreeze.

Some of the other things that can cause an engine to run hot include:

  • cooling fan that’s not operating properly broken/bad thermostat
  • low coolant level
  • clogged or leaking radiator
  • broken water pump
  • broken head gasket
  • split hose

So, if you find yourself in a situation where your car runs hot pull over and have your car towed to your local auto repair shop.  You can check the coolant level to make sure that’s not what’s causing the problem, but don’t run the engine while it’s hot or you’ll risk damaging the head gasket or the head itself.Blue_Bar-1

Do you live or work in the Columbia, MD area and are overdue for regular preventive maintenance service on your automobile?  Make an appointment and let us help you protect your engine and maximize the life of your car.


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About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.