Some times when the cars overheat after driving it for a while could be because the water pump blades are in bad shape, there's a leak that has not been detected, the thermostat is not opening when it should, etc. Normally the thermostat is located near the water pump. The water pump is normally located on the front of the engine (which is where the drive belts are). Some cars have the engine placed sideways in relation with the front of the car, so don't confuse the front of the car with the front of the engine. If I'm not mistaken, your 1996 Dodge Intrepid has an engine that is placed facing towards the front of the car. If that's the case, look for the hoses that come from the radiator and they should lead you to the water pump (normally the intake of water) and to the thermostat (normally the return of water to the radiator). If I recall correctly, the thermostat compartment should be right in front of you when you open the hood, right in the middle close to the radiator, but as I said above, if is not there, just follow the hoses from the radiator and you'll find it. The thermostat's work is to stop the water from going back to the radiator until it has reached a particular temperature, at which point it should open to let the hotter water out of the engine into the radiator to cool down a bit, and when the "cooler" water from the radiator makes it into the engine the temperature of the water will make the thermostat close again. Keep in mind, every time I say water I mean water mixed with coolant/antifreeze. You're NEVER suppose to just put water alone in your engine as a regular practice. Only in an emergency situation where you don't have any other choice would you do that, in order to make it to the nearest place where you can replace it with the proper water/coolant/antifreeze mixture. Thermostats are sold by temperature. Some times you can find thermostats that have lower or higher temperatures stamped on them or on the box. The use of those depends on the climate you live in (cold north states, hot south states, caribbean, etc.) Ask your mechanic or auto parts expert to see which one is the proper one for your car in the state you live in. In some cars you can check the water pump without having to take it out just by removing the thermostat and putting everything back together (except the thermostat, of course), then taking the radiator cap off. Turn the car on to see if the fluids in the radiator are circulating properly. If not, then you'll have to take the pump off to investigate deeper. Don't forget to replace the thermostat in it's proper place, since most cars use sensors that work upon the temperature of the engine and its water to do different things. So it's not a good practice to eliminate a thermostat on a car. Also, verify that the radiator cap is in good working order. Some radiator caps work just like the thermostat, when they reach a particular high temperature they open to liberate excessive pressure to prevent the radiator to explode or crack, etc. Thermostats and radiator caps are not that expensive, so if you are going to do this tests, you might as well just replace them with new ones anyways. That way you'll know you will not have problems with those in the near future. Hope this helps you! Best wishes!
Jun 02, 2014 |
1996 Dodge Intrepid