Q: Engine Overheating after 20-30 minutes. Why?

asked by on March 20, 2017

Overheating. I recently had the transmission rebuilt. Within 20 minutes of driving it overheated. There are no leaks of any kind. Replaced the thermostat, flushed the radiator, refilled it with the proper coolant, burped system. Next day I drove to work without issue. Approx 25 minute drive, mostly highway. Drove home and car overheated right as I got to the driveway. Checked the fans, and hoses and all appear fine, fans work as intended. Replaced the radiator cap and topped off coolant again. Drove again for roughly 30 minutes around the neighborhood and it overheated again. I am thinking water pump. It doesn't leak and the pully feels secure. What makes me think water pump is because I removed the radiator cap and started the car after letting it warm up. Looking in the cap opening, I saw no movement of fluid with the engine running. Also, the lower hose feels very soft while running. Shouldn't I see some fluid movement? Could it be a water pump? '06 Xterra, 4x4, 4.0L v6, 97K miles

My car has 97000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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Hi there. If the coolant is not moving in the radiator and if the upper radiator hose is cooler than the lower then the water pump may not working. If you were to have the engine heat up to a little hotter than normal temperature, simply step on the accelerator to the floor fast to rev up the engine quickly and then let off. Watch the temperature gauge. If the gauge drops a little and then goes back, then the water pump is working. Another way to check the water pump is, as the engine is running and when it gets hot, grab the lower radiator hose and squeeze it. You should feel the water moving in the hose. If the coolant is moving and the water pump seems to be working, then the thermostat could be sticking and not flowing properly. If you need further assistance with your engine overheating, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

Hi there. One of the easiest ways to test a water pump is to carefully place your hand on the lower radiator hose while the motor is running. Two things should happen; first, as you suggested, the hose should feel "hard" and you should always feel motion through the hose. One other thing to check is your heater. If the heater is not working (supplying hot air), then you’ve got an obstruction inside the heater core; which can also create overheating problems. If you can’t resolve your issues soon, feel free to contact one of our professional mobile mechanics and have them complete a car is overheating inspection.

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