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My car runs hot while in idle. It gets all the way near 260 degrees. The light even comes on sometimes. The engine temperature gauge returns to the 1/2 or 3/4 when I accelerate. I try to avoid traffic as much as possible so the car won't overheat while not moving. What could be the problem?
My car has 179000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.
You may have a problem with low flow in the cooling system and some of the possible problems may be the water pump blades worn down causing lower flow and gives more flow at the higher engine RPM's. The next is the radiator may be partly clogged and not flowing enough coolant and can be checked for cold spots with a temperature probe or laser temperature sensor. You should first make sure your fans are working and the coolant is full with no leaks in the system.
I recommend having a mechanic, like one from YourMechanic, diagnose the overheating problem before any parts are replaced. The complete system can then be checked and a diagnosis can be given to fix the problem. The problem may get worse the more you drive it and cause internal engine problems if it is overheated so get the problem checked and repaired as soon as possible.
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