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2007 Maxima overheats with AC on (or when stressed)

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Old 06-13-2018, 02:00 PM   #1  
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2007 Maxima overheats with AC on (or when stressed)

Hello!

I have a 2007 Maxima that I really like, except that it has had an overheating problem for a while. It runs fine most of the time except when it is 80+ degrees out. If it gets that hot out, it runs fine on the highway. But if I turn the AC on, or drive in stop and go traffic, it heats up pretty quickly. It cools off if I turn the AC off or get on the highway, but it can take a while. I always stop and turn it off if it comes near the red line.

I have been doing some research into this on maxima.org. Most of the advice says:

1. check the coolant level -- I did this.
2. check the fans -- they turn.
3. check the thermostat
4. check the radiator
5. check the water pump

I have some questions though. I'm not a mechanic (though I'm not afraid to do stuff).

1. How do I check the fans? Just let the engine warm up and visually check? My understanding is that the fans in this model operate at 3 speeds, so how would I check that the high settings work? How would I even tell what speed they're running at?

2. My understanding is that I can check the thermostat by touching the radiator intake hose when the engine is warm. I think it's okay -- the radiator gets hot. Is there anything else I should look for?

3. How can I tell if a radiator is clogged?

4. What order would you do these tests in?

Ideally I'd like to know what's wrong before I go to a mechanic. (Or maybe I'll fix it myself if its the radiator or fans or fan control). I'm definitely willing to poke around, but I don't have any jack stands and I'd like to make some progress soon.

Thank you!

Last edited by poopdeville; 06-13-2018 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:21 AM   #2  
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First off, that old, get the radiator flushed. You'll find out quick if it's buildup. Should be done I think every 50,000, especially after the car gets older...but check the manual for actual interval. Some cars may be as low as 30,000. Either way, get that done ASAP. Firestone can do it for under $100. They can also tell you if the thermostat is broke or if the pump isn't working well.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:22 AM   #3  
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BTW, I'd guess the thermostat first in a lot of these cases, if the buildup is minor. But with bad buildup, you could have a bad pump, bad thermo, and bad waterflow...so yeah, coolant flush is a must.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:30 AM   #4  
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Awesome. Thanks for your advice. Definitely a cost effective plan to find out, plus it's regular maintenance anyway. I'll do it this weekend.
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Old Yesterday, 08:38 AM   #5  
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Are the fans on when you turn on the AC?
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