What To Do When Your Car Overheats

car overheats

The first thing to do when your car overheats is not to worry and not panic. Most of the issues that might occur are relatively inexpensive, with some exceptions, of course. To help you get a better understanding of your automobile and prepare for the event of your car overheating, we’re here to guide you through the causes of heat-build-up and what you need to do to stop it.

Why is my car overheats?

a)        Bad radiator

A coolant leak can occur when a foreign object is kicked up by the truck in front of you and penetrates the radiator.

Bad radiator

b)        Bad radiator hose

As your car ages, the plastic and rubber hoses that feed the engine its vital fluids can snap and break.

c)        Bad thermostat

This little part manages the coolant flow from the radiator to and from the engine and can get stuck open or closed.

Bad thermostat

d)        Head gasket

When the coolant gets into the combustion chambers, your engine can overheat dangerously.

e)        Bad radiator fan

All cars have radiator fans that assist in cooling the car’s coolant/antifreeze. If that goes out, it can’t cool the fluid, and your car will overheat.

Steps to take if your car overheats

While your best bet is to get help from a mechanic, your safest bet is to be prepared. When a vehicle becomes extremely hot, the dashboard temperature indicator rises. Another indication could be a turned-on malfunction indicator light.

If your car overheats, do not drive more than a quarter-mile. It’s best to have it towed to avoid further damage to the engine. Follow these tips to help your cargo back to its normal temperature:

1.    Shut the A/C off & roll down the windows

Turn the air conditioning off as soon as you realize that the car is overheating. It will take some load off the engine and reduce its temperatures. Opening the windows will quicken the process even further.

Car AC

2.    Turn on the heater & blower

If shutting off the A/C doesn’t help, switch on the heater and blower. It sounds counterintuitive, but turning on the heater draws warmth away from the engine and into the passenger compartment. This will lessen the burden on the engine’s cooling system and reduce its temperature.

3.    Rev the engine in idle

If you notice the temperature increase while in traffic, rev the engine a bit after shifting the gear to ‘park’ or ‘neutral’. This process speeds up the water pump and the fan, pulling more air and water through the radiator.

4.    Pullover & wait

If your car continues to overheat after you’ve done everything mentioned above, pull over safely to cut the engine off. Do not attempt to open the hood by hand until the engine has cooled, especially if you see steam wafting off the engine. If you want to add water, wait until the engine goes back to the average temperature.

5.    Add coolant

Engines typically overheat because the coolant’s low, so topping it off will usually solve the problem. Wait for the hood to cool off before you add the coolant. Please note that this is just a temporary fix; only till you can drive to the nearest auto repair dealership.

Add coolant

6.    Drive to the nearest mechanic

While driving, keep an eye on the temperature gauge and notice every little detail with your car.

As much we love to have you ‘do-it-yourself’, we know that not everyone has the proper tools, a safe workspace, the spare time, or the confidence to tackle major automotive repairs. Sometimes, you need quality repair work performed by professionals you can trust, like the certified mechanics at Car Factory.

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