My vehicle is overheating and the overheating light comes on. What could that be?

When the car runsure for maybe 30 minutes the over heating light comes on

My car has 183000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi there. If the engine is overheating and the light is coming on, then either the engine is overheating from a faulty thermostat, water pump, or burned head gasket, or the coolant temperature sensor is not working properly. Check the sensor and see if its sending the proper voltage to the PCM. If the voltage is correct, then check the coolant temperature with a raytec gun and see if the temperature is rising very high of over 200 degrees Farenheit. If so, then the thermostat may be sticking closed, the water pump may not be pumping the coolant, or the head gasket may be burned causing the coolant to boil. If you need further assistance with your engine overheating, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

The most common reasons a BMW 528i xDrive is overheating are a coolant leak (water pump, radiator, hose etc.), the radiator fan, or a failed thermostat. Coolant leak (water pump, radiator, hose etc.)
BMW engine overheating issues are a common complaint among many BMW owners. Some of the main causes of overheating in BMWs include coolant leaks, a clogged coolant system, water pump failure, and using the wrong type of coolant.
If it gets hot at all times, then it may have a clogged radiator, or more commonly a leaking head gasket. I would perform a block test prior to changing anything else. If that fails the test, then the engine will need to be disassembled and repaired. If it passes, then it may need a radiator.
If you notice a temperature warning light on your dashboard, it could be a sign of trouble. If you`ve noticed that the coolant level in your radiator is low, you may leak somewhere in your cooling system. When tackling these problems, there`s no need to call an expensive mechanic—you can do it yourself!
The most frequent causes of an overheated engine are cooling system leaks or an overworked engine during hot weather. Either way, your best bet is to call your local service center or emergency roadside assistance for help.
The average engine operating temperature lies between 75 to 105 degrees Celsius.
Why is my car overheating but it has coolant in it? It could be that the coolant concentration is not correct, or you may have a bad thermostat, a failed water pump, broken drive belt, or a bad radiator or radiator fan.
Faulty Thermostat

Once the engine reaches operating temperature, the valve will open and coolant will begin to flow through the engine. A faulty thermostat might remain closed even when the engine is hot, which can quickly lead to overheating.

A BMW thermostat controls the flow of coolant from your BMW engine through the radiator. During warmup coolant flows, but not into the radiator until proper operating temperature has been reached.
Turn off the engine. If you can pop the hood from the driver`s seat, do so — but don`t risk opening it by hand until the engine has cooled, especially if you see steam wafting off the engine. It typically takes a solid 30 minutes for an engine to cool down enough for it to be safe to handle.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

No dash lights, back right tail light is out, no parking lights. Brake lights work though as does head lights.
ANSWER : Hi there. In many cases, when you have electrical problems like you’re describing, it’s caused by multiple electrical component failure. It’s likely that a few electrical relays are not working; especially if you have systems that utilize the same components (such as your brake light and tail lights). I would recommend having a professional mobile mechanic come to your location to complete an electrical problems inspection first, so they can pinpoint what is damaged and recommend the right repairs.

Low coolant light comes on when AC, defrost or heater is on, but only if the car is in gear and stopped, what’s wrong with my car?
ANSWER : First, you want to make sure your cooling system is full. Check the radiator not the coolant jug. And check it when it is cold. If it needs coolant, add some. Of course, I don’t feel this problem is an actual low coolant condition. I would expect to find an electrical failure in the instrument cluster or from a component or wiring harness that is connected to the instrument cluster.

As a technician, I have access to reports from technicians across the country. I could not find any reports of this problem, so diagnosing this will require an experienced tech as this is not a common problem. In addition, this happens at intermittent times making it difficult to recreate. The most challenging part of this diagnosis will be recreating the symptom. I suspect it has something to do with the brake switch circuitry because it only seems to happen when you have your foot on the brake. I would begin my diagnosis there with a wiring diagram and test light in hand. The brake switch, instrument cluster, and environmental controls all interact with each other. Something is crossed either because of a failed module or damaged wiring in a harness.

Aside from making sure the coolant is full, this will not likely leave you on the side of the road. If you take it in to be diagnosed, be prepared for them to spend more time than usual to figure it out. Since it isn’t a key problem, you may need to live with it until it completely fails making it much easier to diagnose. Either way, I do recommend having a certified mechanic diagnose the warning light to make sure there isn’t anything serious going on.

Good luck.

What could cause my ESP light and ETC light to come on while driving?
ANSWER : Hi there. I wouldn’t get too worried. It is normal for the ESP and ETC lights to come on when the Check Engine Light (CEL) does. They are Electronic Stability Program and Electronic Traction Control. Both are tied into the ABS system.

If the engine or transmission is not working properly, these systems will be disabled. The lights come on to inform you of this. If the engine is rough at idle, it is misfiring. The engine computer can detect even the slightest misfire. When it does it will set a code and turn on the CEL. The code will remain stored even if the light goes out.

Misfires can damage the catalytic converter. This is why the computer will only allow you to go 40mph. It reduces the power output of the engine to prevent more damage. Have the codes read out for you if you wish. Misfire codes are P0300-P0304.

For the rough idle, you will still need someone to diagnose why it is misfiring. If I were to guess, I would think you have a bad ignition coil. There is one for each cylinder. If you would like to have all of this checked, a certified technician from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the rough idle (as well as any other problems) and can advise you on any suggested or urgent repairs.

Battery light goes on when I start car then turns off, if I rev engine light comes back until rpms go down. Abs goes comes on/off
ANSWER : Batteries can die due to faults in the charging system so ideally a suspected "faulty" battery should be load tested before a decision is made to condemn it. The only exception to this rule is if the battery is already clearly "old" (greater than 5 years) but even then once you put a new battery in, as a replacement for a "dead" battery, you have to comprehensively check out the charging system. Diagnostic Trouble Code P0460 will result in disruption of the dashboard fuel gauge’s ability to accurately report your tank’s fuel levels. The fuel gauge readings may be erratic, or read somewhere off scale. Vehicles equipped with a low fuel warning light feature may also suffer from erratic low fuel warnings in the event of a code P0460. Unless the P0460 code has been reported alongside other trouble code, all of the vehicle’s essential systems should otherwise function normally. I would recommend that you request a check engine light diagnostic to first resolve the fault causing the P0460 code to set. The check gas cap light warning light could be due a faulty gas cap and/or small leaks in the EVAP system.

Rear brake light, and some interior lights don’t come on unless I’m braking
ANSWER : Hello. Replacing the stop light socket with a new one should have solved the intermittent problem of the stop light not working all of the time. It is possible that when you tweaked the socket, it caused a short to ground. This could explain why the dash lights only come on when you press the brakes.

The first thing that I would suggest is that the stop light socket be replaced. After replacing the stop light socket, if the dash lights still only come on when you press the brake pedal, the wiring for the dashboard will need to be inspected for any shorts to ground or bare wires touching metal that it shouldn’t touch. Since this issue started as a rear light problem, I would start with having your rear lights inspected by a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic.

Engine Light and AT light. Car goes into limp mode
ANSWER : Hello. Most of the time this is the result of a transmission failure. It is common for this transmission to have internal pressure problem which will cause these codes. It can also be a voltage problem so I always check that first. I check the voltage going to the transmission and if it is too low I repair that issue which is commonly the ignition switch. If the voltage is fine, then the transmission pressures need to be checked and it will more than likely need to be replaced. I would have a transmission specialist look into this.

Traction light/reduced engine power and check engine light coming on
ANSWER : Hello. From what you describe, it would appear that your vehicle may be experiencing some sort of intermittent wiring or sensor issue. If the problem occurred again after driving over a bump, then it may be possible that a damaged or loose wire is shorting or having contact issues. A common issue that can cause stalling is a faulty crank position sensor or wiring. I would carefully examine the engine for any loose or damaged wires. If the Check Engine Light comes back on, I would recommend having the trouble codes scanned before resetting the computer.

Abs light, emergency brake light, steering wheel assist light, engine light, EPC light, traction control light
ANSWER : Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle does utilize a lot of the same sensors for these systems. Are there any other codes that are coming up when this code appears? If so you will want to take these into consideration when processing the repair and making a diagnosis. The module may be bad, and replacing it should fix the problem. The lights should turn off once the main computer recognizes the new module and the sensors sync up. If you believe the sensors need to be cleaned you may do so. Do as minimal as possible to make sure you are not damaging the sensor or disrupting the wiring inside. A bad connection would make the lights stay on. With so many lights that are effected by the module being illuminated, the module is likely bad or does not have a connection. Check the connection first and then resort to replacing the unit. For more help with these electrical tests, contact our service department.