Common Reasons Why Diesel Engines Overheat

The last thing you need is for a diesel engine to overheat. You need your fleet in top working order—otherwise, business will come to a halt. An overheating engine is a serious problem that needs to be addressed right away by a semi truck repair technician.

Let’s look at the leading reasons your diesel engine might be overheating and what to do about it.

Engine coolant issues

This is the leading cause of overheating in vehicles. Examining the diesel engine’s cooling system is the first thing to do if it overheats. Here’s what to do next:

  • Inspect the reservoir, and see if it has enough coolant
  • Low coolant levels could be due to issues like cracks in the engine or head gasket
  • Add more coolant if needed, and keep checking the fluid levels
  • Also check under the vehicle regularly to see any signs of leaks

Leaks could also be the result of air pockets or bubbles that may have entered the reservoir or radiator, leading to restricted fluid flow. Coolant should be able to flow freely through the system and its components without air blockage. Air pockets are often tied to improper flushing of the coolant system or are related to deterioration of the cylinder liner.

You also want to make sure that you use the right coolant with the proper consistency. An ideal mixture for a diesel engine’s coolant is 50 percent water, 44 percent antifreeze and 6 percent coolant conditioner. Establishing this means the coolant will have the correct color, odor and acidity. The coolant should also be free of debris and dirt.

Malfunctioning water pump

If it’s not a coolant issue, then you need to begin checking other parts of the engine and its related components. Water pumps circulate coolant through the engine. The pulley connecting the water pump to the fan clutch assembly should be able to spin freely; if it’s not, that’s a sign the pump seals are worn. A mechanic can inspect the pump to see if it’s working properly.

Faulty fuel injectors

When a semi’s fuel injection system isn’t working properly, the engine will have to work harder for the vehicle to run. This can lead to overheating. There are many possibilities for what causes diesel fuel injectors not to work properly, including the buildup of deposits along the injector nozzle. An inspection of the fuel injection site should be easy to identify for a trained professional in semi truck repair.

Bad cooling fan

The radiator fan or fan clutch malfunctioning are other possible reasons the engine might overheat. Check to ensure that these fans aren’t broken or loose. A defective cooling sensor or engine thermostat might also cause these fans not to work, which will lead to overheating.

For the leaders in semi truck repair, turn to J & M Trailer Repair. We’ve been in the business for more than two decades, delivering reliable service to a range of commercial fleets. Contact us today to ensure that all your trucks stay on the road.