An overheating engine is a bad indication that there could be a myriad of problems going on with your vehicle. During the hot summer months, you should keep a close eye on your car’s temperature gauge. If you see the gauge move into the red area or see the “engine hot” warning come on while driving, you need to follow some important steps to prevent costly damage from happening to your car. Other indications that your car is overheating include steam or a burning smell coming from underneath the hood. Here is what to do when your car overheats:
- Try to safely pull over to the side of the road. If you are stuck in traffic, turn the air conditioner off right away. Cars can overheat when the air conditioner is on if the AC compressor isn’t functioning well. If traffic is not moving, put your car in neutral or park. Turn the heat on high and the fan speed on max. Watch the temperature gauge, and if it moves to the end of the red area, you will have to turn on your emergency flashers and turn off your engine. Driving a car that is overheating can cause burst hoses, warped cylinder heads, melted engine components, a blown head gasket, and exhaust system damage.
- Turn off the car and wait at least 30 minutes for the car to cool down. Then you can open the hood and visually check the coolant level in the reservoir tank. If the coolant level is low, touch the radiator cap to make sure it isn’t hot. Remove the cap and fill the coolant level to the top. Coolant is a fifty-fifty mix of antifreeze and water. Wait for ten minutes and see how much the coolant level goes down. Look underneath the car for any coolant on the ground. If the reservoir empties again or coolant is on the ground, you probably have a leak in the cooling system. Check the radiator hoses for any signs of blockage or damage.
- Call a towing service or drive carefully to the nearest service station. If you don’t think that the cooling system has a leak and the coolant level is full, you can drive your car slowly to a reputable auto repair shop nearby. If at any time the car overheats again or if there is a coolant leak, it is time to call a tow truck. It is better not to drive at all with an overheating engine then to risk thousands of dollars in damage.
Being aware of your car’s engine temperature is an important part of warm weather driving. There are a lot of potential causes of an overheating engine. These include coolant system leaks, a bad thermostat, a clogged or faulty radiator and radiator fan, damaged hoses, a blown head gasket, and a broken water pump. An overheating vehicle needs to be looked at immediately. Often the problem is a simple, low-cost repair, but ignoring the problem initially can lead to more extensive damage.
If you are in the Tucson, Arizona area and have any vehicle service or repair needs, you can trust the experts at Accurate Service. We are a full-service auto repair shop that works on all makes and models of vehicles including those with diesel engines. Just give us a call at (520) 620-9129 or schedule an appointment online at your convenience.