Common Reasons a Car Overheats in Stop & Go Traffic - Things to know Information in Seattle, WA

The combustion that powers your Subaru is a hot process--hot enough to damage the engine if some of the heat isn't taken away by the cooling system. If something's not right, you may notice that your Subaru begins to overheat only when you're idling in stop-and-go traffic. If this is the case, it's still best to turn off your engine as soon as possible and have your vehicle towed to an authorized Subaru service center. When the technicians inspect the cooling system, one of these three problems is generally to blame for this particular pattern of overheating.

Carter Subaru Ballard tips about engine overheating in traffic. 

3. The Thermostat Isn't Working

The thermostat is what starts the cooling system in the first place. It keeps coolant out of the engine while it's warming up; once the engine reaches operating temperature, the thermostat opens a valve and lets coolant into the engine. If you deal with lots of stop-and-go traffic during your morning commute, you may only see the temperature gauge rise once the engine has warmed up and the thermostat failed to do its job.

Learn how to keep your Subaru driving safe if it begins overheating in traffic. 

2. The Coolant Is Low or Contaminated

Even if the thermostat is working, low or contaminated coolant could mean that the cooling system won't be as effective. As before, this may not be noticeable until partway through your drive, after the engine has reached operating temperature.

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1. The Radiator Fan Is Broken

However, with the previous two options, your Subaru might begin to overheat in stop-and-go traffic--but it will probably continue to overheat. If the temperature gauge goes back down once you start moving again, a broken radiator fan is the most likely culprit.

The radiator is where hot coolant goes to cool down again. Part of this cooling process is achieved by spreading the coolant over a large surface area; however, air helps cool it even more. When you're in motion, the air flow from driving should do the trick. However, when you're sitting still, no air is moving across the radiator. When this happens, the radiator fan kicks on. It makes sure that air moves over the radiator to help cool the coolant.

A broken radiator fan may be caused by physical damage, electrical issues, a dead motor, or a physical blockage. However, the symptoms are all the same: until your car starts moving again, the engine will likely get hotter and hotter as the coolant is unable to be properly cooled.

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Carter Subaru Ballard

5201 Leary Ave NW
Directions Seattle, WA 98107

  • Sales: (206) 782-7475
  • Service: (877) 835-5240
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