Have you ever been driving and noticed that the needle on your temperature gauge has started to climb? Once the needle approaches the red zone, many drivers begin to panic. Overheating is a serious problem that can ruin your engine if the root cause is not corrected immediately.

In order to save your engine from any further damage, you need to be able to identify the reason why your vehicle is overheating. The following three areas are great places to start troubleshooting an overheating engine.

1. Contaminated Coolant

Coolant, also referred to as antifreeze, plays a critical role in the performance of your vehicle's engine. Adequate coolant is needed to help dispel any heat that accumulates within the engine bay. The coolant circulates throughout several engine components to provide this valuable cooling service.

As the coolant moves through your engine, it can pick up dirt, debris, or bits of rust from each component. Contaminated coolant is not able to cool your engine properly, resulting in overheating. Have a mechanic at an auto service complete a coolant flush and replace the contaminated fluid with fresh coolant to eliminate any overheating in the future.

2. Coolant Leak

Excess coolant is housed in a plastic reservoir container when it is not being circulated through your engine. It is possible for this reservoir to become cracked or damaged over time. The result is a coolant leak that could compromise the function of your vehicle's engine. The rubber hoses through which coolant travels can also begin to leak as they become brittle and deteriorate over time.

Coolant leaks can significantly reduce the amount of coolant available to dispel heat in your engine bay. Check under your car for any green liquid after the vehicle has been dormant for a period of time. Coolant leaks should be fixed as quickly as possible to prevent them from damaging your engine by allowing the engine to overheat.

3. Poor Airflow

The radiator is another important component that helps to keep your vehicle's engine bay cool. A fan blows air across the radiator continually to ensure proper airflow. The radiator uses this air to help release the heat collected by the coolant into the atmosphere.

Problems with the radiator fan could prevent the radiator from efficiently getting rid of excess heat, causing your engine to overheat. Have your mechanic replace the radiator fan to restore proper airflow inside your engine bay and prevent overheating problems from plaguing your engine.