Your engine is the most important part of your vehicle, providing all the power that allows for motion to occur. However, since it is an integral piece of your car, it is attached to a wide variety of different systems which support its proper operation. When your engine begins to overheat, it is usually because of an issue with one of the other systems within your car. Understanding what can cause an overheating engine can help you identify the problem much quicker.
Low Coolant Levels
The most common cause of an overheating engine is an insufficient amount of coolant in your coolant system. This can happen naturally over time, or it can be because of a leak in a radiator hose, which is a more intensive fix. Refill your coolant by pouring coolant into the radiator reservoir (usually marked with a yellow cap located near the engine). If you notice that you have to refill your coolant system regularly, there is probably a leak somewhere in your system (alternatively, you can check underneath your vehicle for a greenish liquid to determine if there's a leak) and you should head to a mechanic as soon as possible.
On the other side of the same coin, if you have dirty coolant fluid, your radiator may be gummed up and unable to properly cool down your engine when it runs. If your coolant levels are still high but your engine is having issues overheating, the issue most likely lies with the cleanliness of your coolant fluid. You should take your vehicle in to have the radiator flushed in order to remove any built up dirt within the radiator (and to replace the dirty coolant fluid which can continue to gum up the works).
Low Oil Levels
Check the oil level by pulling out the oil dipstick, which is located directly on the engine in most vehicles (check the owner's manual if you can't locate it at first). If it's too low (i.e., below the "full" marker on the dipstick), your engine is overheating because it is insufficiently lubricated. This causes an excess amount of friction within your engine. You should either add more oil to your engine or have your oil changed, as an increased amount of friction within your engine also translates into an increased amount of wear and tear, which can lead to more complicated and expensive repairs down the road.
Talk to a business like Gordie's for more information.