Why does my vehicle gets hot after idling and then shakes/lurches?

For context, I have a 2010 Ford Escape with 170,000 miles. Automatic transmission and a 2.5l 4 cylinder

The vehicle starts up and runs decent. The only error code that I’m getting in a small leak in the EVAP system. Highway driving is fine. No issues. After I’ve driven on the highway, if I idle, like at red lights or slow traffic, the engine gets hot and then starts to get “jerky” and feels like it’s lurching. If I get back on the highway, it continues for a bit, but then eventually usually stops and returns to normal. It’s not overheating, but it definitely starts to get hotter. At first, I assumed it was a spark plug, so I replaced them. That didn’t fix the issue.

This happens about once a week. Today, it happened and after I parked and turned my vehicle off, I could smell a slight burning smell. What should I look for and where should I start? What are some issues that would cause this, while not giving me a check engine light or error codes?

First off, it is not a V4, it is an inline 4. Second, spark plugs don’t cause overheating as you determined.

Check your electric cooling fan. When is starts to get hot at idle, stop, shut off the AC, get out, open the hood and look for the fan to come on. If it doesn’t that is your problem. Fuse, relay or fan motor has gone bad. Go back and turn the AC on. If the fan runs, it is less likely the fan.


Once you do as Mustangman suggested and stop it from overheating, then you need to have your transmission checked out and the fluid changed or you might be replacing it soon… Heat KILLS transmissions,

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Okay, thank you! I’m going to try this.

Okay, I did this. The fan turned off when I turned off my A/C. I let the coolant get up to 195 degrees and it never came back on. At what temperature should the fans turn on?

Not sure about your specific car but the trigger temp would be around 220 F more or less.

My early 90’s corolla’s radiator fan turns on when coolant temp reaches around 190 deg F. Some engines require hotter temps to turn on radiator fan. suggest to repeat experiment, but let coolant go into the 200-220 deg F range. Best to let a well-recommended shop do this for you b/c you may be misinterpreting what the actual coolant temperature is.

Suggest to fix whatever is causing the small evap leak. At the very least it is masking other things that also might be turning the CEL on. If evap system is leaking fuel vapors into engine via purge valve when it shouldn’t, that could contribute to poor performance and engine heating.

You definitely don’t want to continue to let your engine overheat. Will eventually cause all sorts of problems you definitely don’t want to have. If it happens again, immediately turn on the hvac system heater and heater fan to max. That should provide a little temporary engine cooling.