Overheating Taurus

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
I have a 1993 Ford Taurus with a mysterious overheating problem. My father had the water pump and thermostat replaced, but the car is still reaching between the "L" on "Normal" and the red square that says "Hot." There is a very small leak in one of the hoses; it lets hardly any antifreeze out. Could this be causing such a drastic temperature increase? If not, what else could it be?

I live in Texas and it is summer, with the low temperatures in the upper 90s. The only way to get to work without reaching the "Hot" square is to ride without air conditioning. I am in dire need of assistance, and we don't want to pay a mechanic for work that doesn't fix the problem.
Jessica of Dallas, TX

First, fix that leaky hose. Then take a look at the radiator. With the engine cool, take the cap off and start the motor. Do you get a good volume of flow through the radiator? Even if you do, it still doesn't rule out that it is not bad. Do you see any build-up in there? Even the smallest amount of scale in a radiator will limit its cooling capacity. Does the electric fan seem to be working correctly? Are the air passages clear of debris? Sometimes leaves and dead bugs get clogged in there.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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