Amy's Amazing Auto Service and Repair Blog

The Heat Is On: Diagnosing And Repairing Chronic Overheating Problems With Your Light Truck

by Derek Davidson

Light trucks may be smaller and less powerful than their fully sized brethren, but they still have large engines that create an enormous amount of power, and with this power comes a considerable amount of heat. Excessive heat buildup in your light truck's engine can cause a wide variety of problems, from diminished fuel economy to catastrophic mechanical failure, and it's naturally something every light truck driver wants to avoid.

A temperature meter that occasionally veers into the red during hot summer days might not be too much to worry about, but chronic, persistent overheating problems are a bigger cause for concern and should be rectified as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage to your light truck's engine and associated components.

A number of problems and malfunctions can cause persistent overheating problems in light trucks, and taking your light truck to a professional truck repair service is the best way to discover the source of the problem and have it fixed rapidly and effectively. The following mechanical problems can all cause your light truck to suffer chronic overheating problems:

Radiator leaks

Your light truck's radiator is your first line of defense against excessive engine heat and relies on large quantities of cooling fluid to function effectively; naturally, if your radiator fluid is leaking all over the tarmac, this effectiveness will diminish rapidly. Radiator leaks should therefore be fixed as quickly as possible and can usually be diagnosed by the rapidly growing pool of green or orange liquid underneath your light truck's engine bay.

However, while the fluid may be easy to spot, the leak causing it to come out of your radiator can be a lot more challenging to find, especially if your light truck's radiator is buried deep within its engine bay. Leaking radiators should therefore be inspected and repaired by professional truck repair services, who can use specialised equipment to ascertain the location of a leak more swiftly and get your light truck back to work all the sooner.

Faulty radiator fans

Radiators function by cooling hot air created by your engine as it passes over the radiator's cooling vanes, and at least one fan is needed to keep this airflow moving at a sufficient rate. If your radiator fan or fans aren't functioning correctly, hot air will remain trapped in the engine bay, causing chronic problems with excessive heat.

Radiator fans generally fail for one of two reasons: the fan has become clogged or damaged due to debris or the fuse that regulates power to the fan has blown. If your fan is merely dirty, it can generally be cleaned using a compressed air hose and/or engine cleaning compounds, but damaged fans and fan fuses will have to be replaced professionally.

Faulty thermostats

The thermostat is a commonly overlooked component of your light truck's cooling system, but a vitally important one, and without a working thermostat your truck's cooling system will not receive vital signals that regulate the flow of coolant through the radiator. 

Determining whether a faulty thermostat is the source of your cooling problems can be challenging, as a faulty thermostat usually looks physically identical to a functioning one. The best way to diagnose a faulty thermostat yourself is by ruling out any other problems with your light truck's cooling system, but this is a time-consuming endeavour at the best of times, so having your thermostat professionally inspected (and replaced if necessary) is a much faster and more efficient option.