So you’re driving along when all of a sudden you notice the temperature gauge needle start to rise. What do you do? Having your car overheat can be a nerve-wracking experience, but if you know what to do, you should be able to get out of the situation safely. Learn more about what to do if you car overheats in our blog.
What to Do If Your Car Overheats
Things to Remember
First, here are a few things to remember.
- Driving on an engine that is overheating can cause serious damage or even ruin the engine if it goes on for too long. If you can’t get the engine to cool down with the following steps, don’t continue to drive on it.
- You should always keep spare containers of coolant and water in your car so you can do something if your engine overheats.
Steps to Take if You Car is Overheating
First, turn off the air conditioner and open the windows. The A/C is very demanding on the engine, which is why you get poorer gas mileage when it’s on. Turn it off to lessen the load on the engine.
If this doesn’t cool the engine, turn on the heater and blower at full blast. Yes, it will be hot for you, but this helps move heat away from the engine compartment.
Avoid riding your brakes, because this increases the load on the engine as well. Try to coast as much as possible. If you’re stopped in traffic, shift into neutral or park and rev the engine. What this does is speed up the water pump and fan, which increases air and liquid circulation through the engine.
If This Still Doesn’t Work
Ok, so you’ve tried the above steps and they’re not working. Now is the time to pull over. Turn off the engine and pop the hood. If there’s steam coming from the engine, do not handle it immediately. Wait at least 30 minutes for it to cool off. Do not attempt to do anything until the engine is cool.
Once the engine is cool, check the coolant levels. If they’re low or empty, there may be a leak. Look and see if any fluid is leaking from under the engine.
To replace coolant, open the radiator cap. Cover your hand with a cloth and tilt the cap away from you when you open it. Pour in a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. If you don’t have any coolant, you can use only water, but there are 2 things you need to know about water. One, you can’t run on only water for long, so you’ll have to add coolant ASAP. Two, never add cold water into a radiator that’s still hot. If you have to do this, turn the engine on while doing so.
What if there’s no leak?
If there’s no coolant, the problem is probably mechanical or electrical, and will need to be fixed by a mechanic. Call for a tow and don’t attempt to drive any farther. You should also do this if you are unable to bring down the engine’s temperature on your own.
For any more help with summer car care or other issues make sure to consult the professionals.
Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.
Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!