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Ask a Mechanic: A broken fan could be the reason for an overheating vehicle

In today’s column we learn more about restoring a 30-year-old car and what might cause your vehicle to overheat.
Nida Zafar
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Every week, we take your questions about what is going on under the hood of your vehicle and pose them to a knowledgeable mechanic in the Greater Toronto Area. In today’s column we learn more about restoring a 30-year-old car and what might cause your vehicle to overheat.

Dear Ask a Mechanic, 

I have a 1990 Acura Legend Coupe that’s been sitting in my driveway for the past 30 years. The body of the car seems to be in good condition, but it has been through some brutal winters and heatwaves in the summer. I want to make it roadworthy again. What are the challenges I will face in doing so? What are the things I can expect to be wrong? – Looking to rebuild

Kirk Paty, owner of R & G Auto Center in Pickering, said the biggest thing to expect is that the vehicle may never be roadworthy again. He recommends having a professional lift the vehicle so they can take a look underneath it before any work is done. This is an important step because an expert opinion will let you know if the car is even salvageable, since it’s been sitting for so long. Paty said older vehicles, like your Acura Legend Coupe, may deteriorate over time. “The outside may look fine but when you scratch the surface, it may not be,” he said. “If the body on the top is in good shape, that’s one thing, but it depends on the knees because there’s a lot going on underneath that vehicle.” If a go-ahead is given, there will likely be a long list of things that need to be worked on, and Paty said replacing the brakes will probably be at the top of that list since they have probably rusted and seized up.

Dear Ask a Mechanic, 

I drive a 2003 F150. I find my truck getting extremely hot at stop lights and in slow moving traffic. I don’t know what the issue is. Is this something to be concerned about? – Heat wave

Given the increase in temperature happens when the car is, or nearly is, standing still, there could be a problem with one of the cooling fans, Paty said. The vehicle may be using an electric cooling fan or a clutch fan, but, either way, he said he believes the issue lies with the mechanism that cools the vehicle down. “They should get that checked out,” Paty said. If ignored, the truck can overheat and cause major engine damage, leading to costly repairs down the road.

Ask a Mechanic is written by Nida Zafar, a reporter at The Pointer who grew up in a house full of mechanics in Scarborough, and occasionally poses your questions to her dad or brother. You can send your questions to wheels@thestar.ca. These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to your vehicle.

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