Can't Accelerate? Overheating? Listen For The Warning Signs

20 March 2015
 Categories: , Blog


As seasons change and car temperatures get higher, you may start to see some strange performance issues from your vehicle. An overheating car isn't just a problem for the radiator or shutting down the engine; there are a few other problems that can happen during critical heat that can gradually ruin your vehicle. Instead of letting your vehicle cool down and drive with a dangerous situation brewing underneath, consider a few other failure points that could be getting worse even after you cool down.

Listen For Ticking Noises

As you drive or turn on your car for testing, listen for what's going on under the hood. If you're having problems accelerating, it could be because the engine block valves have expanded. When a vehicle overheats, many of the precision metal components can expand beyond their normal limits. While the parts may shrink again, it's unlikely that they will return to their original size.

When you try to drive, these valves and rods in the engine block can knock against their intended housing, resulting in a clicking or ticking noise. If you hear the noise more as you accelerate, you can be sure that the problem is engine block valve expansion.

It's important to stop driving as soon as possible. While yes, you can start the car again in an emergency, continuing to drive with the problem will only make it worse. The rods may expand more and may fly completely out of their housing in a problem known in the automobile world as throwing a rod. Due to impatience or improper testing, you can turn a hundred dollar repair into something much more expensive.

Do You Hear Hissing?

If the car is overheating on a regular basis, you should examine the radiator and the cooling tank. The easiest diagnosis would be a radiator that is constantly empty, which is a sign of a cracked radiator. Although the fix isn't cheap, it's a known quantity that can be assessed directly. When the radiator still has a decent amount of water, the head-scratching confusion begins.

Turn on the car, but don't try to drive anyway. Allow the car to run and the engine to heat up a bit. Open the hood and listen for any hissing noises and look for any bubbling water. You may have a leak in other parts of the vehicle, such as the cylinder head or the cylinder head gasket.

The engine block has channels that allow water to flow through for cooling, and the cylinder head area is an easy place to leak. The gasket is a seal that ensures proper closure, but when the gasket or the head itself becomes damaged, you could have a leak that either slows the flow of cool water or allows a leak.

If you notice a leak at the cylinder head, it's even more important not to drive the vehicle. Overheating and driving with a moving set of cylinders can wear out the cylinders, leading to even more expensive repairs. Contact an auto repair shop, such as XL Auto Service & Tires, for assistance.