I have a 2003 Ford Focus that I purchased in 2012. It has continually been having overheating issues, and I have replaced the radiator, thermostat, water pump, timing belt and hoses. It was fine until last week when I drove it for about 45 minutes on a hot day and the yellow light went on and the needle moved to the right past the half way point. I waited for it to cool off and drove it home, also 45 minutes and everything was fine. It has not overheated since then. I took it to two mechanics and no one could find anything wrong with the cooling system. Any idea what this could be?

  • Check your fan relays resistance before you start checking the coolant temp sensor or fan motor windings... also check to see if the coolant cap is sealing, or if its leaking, having a compression test done is a good option.. Is there fluid leaking around your engine, Your water pump isnt leaking, slipping or squealing?
    – user38183
    Aug 26, 2019 at 3:43
  • When you say the needle moved past the halfway point, how far past? Did it stop before going into the red or did it just keep moving? And the driving conditions make a big difference. Traffic vs free-flowing and hills vs flats. So if you can expound on that it would be helpful. Aug 26, 2019 at 17:55

2 Answers 2


I can think of few reasons why your car is overheating.

  1. Fan not working
  2. Your car is actually fine just the sensor is messed up (if I'm wrong and you do nothing you will damage the engine).
  3. Hot days and low speed (stuck in traffic) might cause your car to overheat if your fan isn't working properly or cooling system isn't in proper condition
  4. Blown head gasket(air gets inside the cooling system)
  5. Air in the cooling system

I had a 2002 Focus Wagon for 5 years. The last two, I had overheating issues anytime I get stopped in traffic in 80+ degree weather. It was the fan relay-fan never kicked on. Local shop "fixed" it for me by wiring the fan to run continuously. This worked ok in summer, but in winter I got horrible fuel mileage and my heater did not work well at all-with fan running continuously in cool or cold weather, the engine never reached optimum operating temperature. Finally I put in a toggle switch so I could control the fan. Sorta "Fred Flintstone", but it worked. I hope Ford has figured this out since then!


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