Check Engine Lights are better than fans for avoiding an overheated engine.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1986 Ford Escort. Recently, the car overheated due to a faulty fan relay. The car had only 60,000 miles on it, and now I need a new engine. In the future, I was wondering if it would be a good idea to have the fan hooked up directly so it is running all the time?

TOM: Not really, Brad. If you run the fan motor continually, you'll eventually burn it out and overheat the engine again. Then you'll need a new engine AND a new fan motor.

RAY: I'll tell you what WOULD be good idea; pay attention to the warning lights on your dashboard. And when the TEMP light comes on, pull over immediately and shut off the engine.

TOM: Severe overheating can cause cylinder heads to warp and blocks to crack, and that's what apparently happened in your case. You must have ignored the warning light for a good long time, Brad. Either that, or your warning lights weren't working.

RAY: You may not know this, but you can check them very easily. As you start your car, when the key is in the "on" or "crank" position, all of the lights are supposed to come on. If they don't light up then (if a bulb is out or a sensor isn't working), they're not going to warn you to pull over when your engine's about to melt.

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