What Should You Do if your Engine Overheats?

April 9th, 2015 by

car+engine_steam overheating
 

What Do I Do if My Car Overheats this Summer?

Most drivers have come across a person on the side of the road on a hot summer day with the hood of their car popped and steam venting out from an overheating engine. It’s a rough place to be, especially on a long summer drive to a vacation spot or any other alluring destination. The worst part of an overheating engine is that in almost all cases, the situation is avoidable and could be prevented with some simple maintenance tasks. Here’s what you should do if your engine ever does overheat.

If Your Engine Might Be About to Overheat…

If you just see your thermostat rising curiously high, there are some precautions you can take. Turn off your A/C and open your windows,  the A/C puts a significant amount of strain on your engine. If the car still isn’t cooling down after turning off the A/C, then crank up the heat. Turn your heat all the way up, this acts like another vent for your engine compartment and helps cool it down. Hopefully this gets your indicator lights to go off, but if the situation has developed this far, you’re going to want to consult a technician about any possible issues or look into them yourself if you are comfortable with that.

If Your Engine is Going to Overheat…

If your vehicle is about to overheat and you’ve tried the above recommendations to cool it off with no success, get out of traffic and pull over as soon as you can. Driving an extra half mile with an overheating engine could cost you the entire engine. Pop your hood if you can do so from the driver’s seat, don’t risk opening it from the front of the car where you could be blasted by hot steam. Do not attempt to remove your radiator cap from a hot engine under any circumstances. The system is pressurized and can spray hot liquid resulting in serious burns. Keep the heat on and allow the car to cool down, giving the vehicle a solid 30 minutes to cool is the general recommendation. Call your trusted automotive service center, like Fisher Auto, and see what they recommend. You may be advised to get your vehicle towed if there’s concern of further damage to the engine.
There are many potential hazards to driving on a hot summer day, especially given that road trips are much more common. Overheating is not common in modern cars, and if this happens to you its should be taken very seriously as it likely signals an internal issue that could be further complicated by continued driving. Check out our other post on some maintenance you can do to lessen the chance of our engine overheating.
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