How Hot Does a Car Engine Get

Car Engine

Every system in the world has a limit. Engines are no exceptions. In general, they get hot during operation which is normal. However, they will eventually reach their breaking point due to overheating. That is why people who handle massive engines should know the maximum temperature capacity of each motor. This kind of awareness should be observed by car owners as well since automobiles rely on engines. Stay with us as we gradually provide answers to the question: “How hot does a car engine get?”

Car Engine


Despite the mind-blowing advancements in today’s technology, a car engine can still generate too much heat. It is only logical based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is actually impossible to convert 100 percent of the engine’s heat energy to mechanical energy. There will always be leftover heat that is plainly useless for the system. This extra heat is the reason why engines get extremely hot when too much work is done.


Now that we understand that it is totally normal for the car engine to get very hot, let’s finally learn the answer to “How hot does a car engine get?” Before we get even more specific, you ought to know at this very moment that engines can get so hot that their metal glows red.

When it comes to the figures, most car engines have the maximum heat capacity of approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature actually represents liquid coolant since other components such as exhaust valves can go hotter than the given numbers. On a more serious note, it triggers the cooling system to develop extreme pressure. If that indeed happens, the coolant goes out of the pressure relief valve in the radiator cap. If the hoses, radiator cap and other components are not strong and heavy enough, they will not be able to handle the coolant’s pressure.

Never attempt to reach the maximum temperature. It has a wide gap from the normal range. Sure, race car engines can handle it but not ordinary ones. Automobile engines that can go hotter than 250 degrees Fahrenheit are too expensive. They require expert design and construction.

Surprisingly, some car engines can even reach 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. However, these temperatures only last for a while because the engine ultimately stops working or the spark plugs starts malfunctioning. This also happens if there are already problems in the water pump or head gasket. It is like the “last hurrah” of the engine.

Additionally, the normal temperature range for most car engines is 195 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.



Even in such a short driving distance, an overheated engine has the tendency to break important components such as internal parts, the cylinder head, or the engine block. Factors that contribute to this are towing, driving under the intense heat of the sun, and using the AC in its maximum setting.

Fortunately, most modern cars have a dashboard gauge showing nonstop temperature reading of the engine’s coolant. The gauge provides an urgent warning when the cooling system starts to get bonkers. It may not present the exact temperature, but it has hot and cold markings on both sides and a normal temperature mark at the center. If the needle constantly moves to the hot mark, your car’s cooling system starts to act up. An immediate solution for this is to stop on the side of the road for a few minutes. Then, make sure to turn off the air conditioner. What you need to turn on, however, is the heater to remove heat from the engine and transfer it somewhere else. On the other hand, if the needle is already near the actual hot marking, call or visit a professional to check your cooling system.

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