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Do’s and Don’ts When Your Vehicle Overheats

Apr 25, 2022

There are few things more disconcerting than when your car’s engine begins to overheat as you are driving down the road. Most people have no idea what is going on and what to even do. Fortunately for you, we have everything that you need to best prepare for this scenario. We will explore why engines overheat, the signs of overheating, and what to do when your engine does overheat. But first, here are a few things that you should not do when your engine overheats, including panicking, continuing to drive, opening the hood too soon, and not promptly fixing the issue.

Why Do Engines Overheat?

Engines typically overheat because something is wrong with your vehicle’s cooling system, which will trap heat within the engine compartment. Additional sources can include a faulty radiator fan, a broken water pump, a clogged coolant hose, or a cooling system leak. No matter the source of the issue, you need to seek help as soon as possible as lingering issues can cause permanent damage.

Signs Of Engine Overheating

Signs that your engine is overheating include steam that comes from under the hood, a strange smell that comes from the engine area (it can smell either sweet or burnt, depending on if coolant or oil is leaking), or your engine temperature gauge will spike into the red.

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What To Do When Your Engine Overheats

  1. Stop the air conditioning and blast the heat – You need to immediately turn off the A/C to reduce stress on the engine. Blast the heat instead to pull heat away from the engine. Granted, you will get hot yourself, but the alternative is much worse.
  2. Pull Over – Pull your car over as soon as possible, and as safely as possible. Allow the engine to cool for at least 15 minutes. Be sure to watch the temperature gauge. It should move back to the normal range as the engine cools.
  3. Check and add coolant – If you have coolant, and your notice that your levels are low, go ahead and top it off to prevent overheating until you can take your vehicle into the shop. If this fails to help, then you might have a broken radiator fan or your coolant hose is clogged.
  4. Restart the engine – After you have waited 15 minutes and your engine has cooled, start your car and head over to your nearest repair shop, which would be Red McCombs Superior Body Shop.

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