What's wrong with my car?
My Honda CR-V begins to overheat when I break (waiting in the drive-thru line, traffic, traffic light, etc.) and has been doing it for the past couple of months. Only when I drive will it blast cold air. I'm not sure what I need to check or what I need to replace. Please help!
Check your coolant levels first. Sounds exactly like mine does every time my coolant is low. If you don't know where to check your coolant (antifreeze) levels go to your local car parts store. If you buy it they will typically show you where it is and how to check it.
If you (or a mechanic) can't find a leak, have someone check the connector for the fan. When I had my Escort, it would seriously overheat but the coolant levels were always good. Finally, a mechanic noticed the the little plastic wire connector had cracked so the radiator fan wasn't working. As soon as that was replaced, it never overheated again because the fan could kick on once the engine got hot.
Frequent applying of break or clutch may overheat your car's engine. When you are on a busy traffic lane, you need to apply break or clutch quite often to slow down your car. This results in overheating and might seize the car engine in case the overheating is not stopped. Chances are there that your break pads or clutch plates have covered its life. Better to take the car to the authorized service station as soon as possible.
Unfortunately the information offers several avenues of seeking a solution. Stated is overheating when idle for longer than normal periods of time. That leads toward the cooling system for a first avenue of diagnosis. As stated a cooling system low may be the solution. If so there is a cause and that should be diagnosed. However the symptoms described offers the obvious or easiest to diagnose first. The following two are common, yet may not be the problem #3 is the best solution! The next two are quick checks.
#1 - The CR-V uses an electric cooling fan for the radiator. That fan runs when an electric motor switches on. The fan runs with idle conditions like you shared sitting in a line waiting. And, that fan will usually cycle when the A/C is used both driving and idle situations. It will cycle more when the cooling system is hotter or out of spec.
It has a sensor on the engine block. That sensor switches the fan on and off to pull air across the radiator to cool the coolant/water mixture at a greater rate than just flowing through the system. The sensor may be malfunctioning and not switching the fan on. Or, the fan motor is not longer functioning.
It is easy to know if it works. Switch on the A/C and you should hear the fan running or visually check it. DO NOT put your hands near the fan!!!! A professional is recommended!!!! Another procedure is to start the vehicle, let it idle, and listen/watch to see if the fan ever runs. HOWEVER, caution is advised to monitor the water gauge or warning light for overheating.
A - Bad cooling sensor
B - Bad cooling fan motor
#2 - The next easiest is the radiator cap is no longer holding the cooling system at the correct pressure. When that occurs the boiling point lowers and the water overheats quicker. That can be checked by a tool for that purpose. Or, gamble and buy a new cap and use trial and error to see if it solves the problem. If at a service center the specific gravity of the cooling mixture may be checked too. Possibly there is not enough anti-freeze/coolant at a usually 50/50 mix with water. A drain and fill would help that for a solution seeking that correct mix specified for that vehicle.
#3 - Next, a proper diagnosis of the system as a complete system. A visual of hoses, check coolant condition, test cap, and assess other components. Assessing water circulation - water pump condition and operation, thermostat operation, and radiator condition and flow. Monitoring flow and fan operation.
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