An overheating engine is a problem many of us face during the hot summer months. No matter what kind of car you are driving, or how old it is, any car can overheat. If you are driving along and the temperature gauge on your dashboard is slowly rising, your engine is probably starting to overheat. There are a few things you should do if this is happening to you.
The first thing to do is to turn on your heat and to open up the windows. Turning on the heat pulls the energy away from the engine and directs the heat into the car cabin. It will get very hot in there though, and since it is already hot outside, you will probably want to open up your windows to make it a little more comfortable. Point the vents away from you to try and make it a little more bearable as well.
If you have turned the heat on, and the temperature gauge is still climbing, you are going to want to pull over. By this point you may even be seeing steam or smoke coming out from underneath your hood. Pull over when it is safe and turn off the car. If you keep driving while the temperature is high, you run the risk of causing some serious damage to your engine. If you feel comfortable doing so, once the engine has had time to cool down, open up the front hood. If you are not sure what you are doing, or why your engine is overheating, it is best to leave it alone and call roadside assistance.
If you are able to get underneath your hood, check the coolant levels in your car. If you see they are low, you may have a leak that you will need to get repaired ASAP. On the other hand, if your coolant levels are fine, the problem may be a broken temperature gauge. If this is the case, wait for your engine to cool then continue onto your destination, but be very careful. Get the temperature gauge replaced as soon as possible.
Lastly, if it is of the utmost importance that you reach your destination right away, there is something you can do from the road. First, make sure you have pulled over and that you have given the engine time to cool. Next, locate that radiator cap and twist it off. If you don’t know where it is, refer to your owner’s manual. Fill up the radiator and reservoir with coolant. If you don’t have any coolant on you, you can use water if you have to. This is by no means a long term fix, and you should take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. It will just keep your engine cool long enough for you to reach your destination, although you may have to pull over again to repeat the process.
Whenever you get your car inspected, you should have the fluid levels checked. This way you know that you always have coolant in your car, and you can avoid your car overheating in most situations. By performing this regular maintenance, and by not pushing your car when it does start to overheat, you can save yourself a lot of money on future repairs.