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Top Reasons And The Best Fixes Of Car Overheating Then Going Back To Normal

Hi, I'm Azim Uddin, a student who loves cars. Visit to learn about car maintenance for beginners and experts. In my studies, I found a cool connection between hosting and car care. Join me on this journey where every road has a story, and hospitality meets the thrill of cars. Explore, learn, and enjoy the ride with me!

Hi, I'm Azim Uddin, a student who loves cars. Visit to learn about car maintenance for beginners and experts. In my studies, I found a cool connection between hosting and car care. Join me on this journey where every road has a story, and hospitality meets the thrill of cars. Explore, learn, and enjoy the ride with me!

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Azim Uddin

The incidence of your car overheating and then going back to normal inexplicably can be a mystery to you. But the phenomenon has certain reasons behind it.

Why is your car overheating and then going back to normal often? It happens due to improper coolant circulation, a defective temperature sensor, etc. Common external factors are driving in extreme heat, false alarms from a radiator, etc., which also can cause this.

Here, you will get the right advice on fixing your car’s overheating issues. But how do you know if your car engine is overheating? Before you move into the issues and fixes in detail, know the signs below to understand if your car is overheated.

Fixes Of Car Overheating Then Going Back To Normal

Notable Symptoms Of Car Engine Overheating

  • High-Temperature Reading: Above the highest normal car engine operating temperature, which ranges up to 225° Fahrenheit. You will see it ascending toward the red temperature indicator in the temperature indicator on your car dashboard.
  • Coolant Warning: A radiator fluid light is shown as a coolant warning on the car dashboard.
  • Knocking or Clunking Engine Sound: Engine components produce clanking sounds in an overheated engine.
  • Steam or Vapor: You will notice steam or vapor coming out underneath the hood when the temperature passes above the boiling point of the radiator fluid which is 387° Fahrenheit.
  • Strange Odor: You can sense the smells of coolant leaks, oil leaks, and burning plastic and rubber parts.
  • Underperformance Of Your Car Engine: Needless to say, you can feel it with the underperformance of your car engine.
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Reasons And The Fixes Of Car Overheating and Then Going Back to Normal

Your car engine can’t work properly if the heat produced inside it is not expelled efficiently, which causes overheating. Below are the underlying reasons and the best possible remedies to apply.

Car overheating happens due to clogged radiator

A radiator with a damaged hose, broken fan, or busted cap can’t work properly to cool down hot coolants to remove heat from your engine. A clogged radiator also can’t do its job fully, preventing efficient heat dissipation.

  • Repair the damaged parts or replace your malfunctioning radiator completely.

Coolant leaks or low coolant levels cause car engine overheating by reducing the system’s ability to regulate temperature.

When there’s a leak or insufficient coolant, the engine doesn’t have enough of this heat-absorbing liquid to maintain optimal temperature. This can lead to excessive heat accumulation and engine overheating.

Low coolant levels also result in air pockets within the system, hindering proper heat transfer.

Identify the exact reasons for the coolant leak to fix the issue. But how do you investigate a coolant leak?

Perform a visual inspection for damaged hoses, gaskets, or a corroded radiator. Also, for coolant drops, wet spots, or stains on the ground.

If you can’t find it externally, do a pressure test to spot any leak in your car’s cooling system.

  • Repair or replace damaged components causing the leak.
  • Always top up the coolant reservoir with high-quality coolant to the recommended level.
it's stuck closed thermostat

A malfunctioning thermostat in a car can cause the engine to overheat by failing to regulate the coolant flow properly.

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When it’s stuck closed, coolant can’t flow to the radiator to dissipate heat. This leads to excessive heat buildup in the engine, resulting in overheating.

Reversely, if it remains open, the engine can’t reach the optimal working temperature, affecting fuel efficiency and emissions.

  • The best solution is to replace your car’s thermostat. It will remove your overheating or no-heat problem.
broken Water Pump

A malfunctioning or broken water pump can cause a car engine to overheat. When a water pump malfunctions, it can’t maintain the necessary coolant flow, leading to reduced heat transfer.

  • Replace the defective water pump with a good one. Inspect and replace any damaged belts or gaskets. Exude air from the system, if required.

A malfunctioning coolant warning sensor fails to alert the driver to low coolant levels. This sensor is responsible for signaling when the coolant is below a safe level.

If it doesn’t trigger a warning, the driver may not be aware of a coolant deficiency. As a result, the engine could continue running with insufficient coolant, leading to overheating.

  • Replace the sensor with a new one. Test the sensor to ensure it delivers the warning properly.

The serpentine belt is related to the function of multiple devices in your car engine, including the power steering pump and water pump. These devices can’t work properly if the serpentine belt is impaired and doesn’t work properly.

Also, a loose serpentine belt can make a car engine overheat, as it can’t provide enough power to push the coolant inside the engine.

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Serpentine Belt
  • Repair a loose serpentine belt by tightening it. Or use a new one if your serpentine belt is broken.

If you’re experiencing car overheating only when accelerating, you might find our articles on car overheating during acceleration helpful. Our article on car overheating during acceleration explores how a sticky thermostat, a partially clogged radiator, radiator cap failure, and blown head gasket problems can cause overheating only when accelerating and what you can do to fix them. Be sure to check out our resources on car overheating during acceleration for more information.


Get precise answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding car overheating.

What Happens If Your Car Overheats And You Keep Driving?

If you keep driving an overheated car, the engine may suffer formidable impairment. Overheating can distort the cylinder head, damage the engine radiator, and so on. It’s crucial to be aware and take the required actions to avoid costly repairs and potential safety risks.

What Is The Fastest Way To Cool Down An Overheated Car?

Shut off the air conditioning system. Then open the car windows and run the heater to a high level.

In a severe situation, Shut off the engine, pop the car bonnet, and let the car cool for a few minutes. If the coolant level is low, add water (if available).


A car overheating and then going back to normal is a common experience for car owners. And now you know the reasons behind it and the fixes to apply. There is nothing complex to understand.

Proper maintenance and ensuring the cooling system functions properly can help stop overheating your car.

However, if it occurs frequently, have your car inspected by a professional to diagnose and find out further issues. And get the issues fixed with the best possible results.

Oh, don’t forget to include your opinion in the comment section. You are welcome to ask any question or give us a suggestion to improve this guide!

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