If the weather gets cold, that may not be the same for temperatures under the hood. During the winter months, cars are still prone to overheating. Especially in Texas, engines can still overheat despite the outside temperatures. The cold may affect other parts of the car including the check engine light. Be aware of overheating engine problems even in the winter. Simple engine checks should be done regularly.
Warming Up the Engine
At first, the battery and engine may need some time to warm up on those cold mornings or nights. Drastic temperature changes may cause the engine to warm up slower than usual. Once the engine reaches its normal heat, the coolant and other fluids will start to flow. Keep in mind that fluid may move slowly in the cold. The coolant, oil and other liquids may not flow as easily as they do in the summertime. However, giving the car some time to fully turn on and warm up will benefit the engine.
There are common causes of an overheating engine. The check engine light may be one of the first warnings a driver sees. Pay attention to the check engine light and parts close to the engine. Several pieces relate back to the engine so one failing piece may hurt the entire car. Some common causes of an overheating engine in the winter include:
• Failing thermostat
• Leaking or low levels of coolant
• Rusting under the hood
A failing piece like the thermostat or sensors can cause the check engine light to turn on. The check engine light may flash or other dashboard symbols may appear. Some vehicles even have a light to let drivers know the coolant levels are too low. Both signals will warn drivers before the engine begins to overheat. Also, rust could cause the overheating. A mixture of water and oxygen can rust the vehicle over time. The rust leads to corrosion and permanent damages.
Winter Engine Check
There are standard engine checks that should be done regularly. These checks include fluid refills, battery testing and engine cleaning. The engine is known to overheat so the coolant should never be low. Ask a professional auto technician what the exact coolant to water ratio should be. The winter can change the necessary amount of water-coolant mix. Before it gets too cold, give cars a winter engine check. This engine check may recognize potential problems that worsen with cold weather.