Does Your Car Overheat?

When temperatures are warmer, so can your car engine’s temperature rise to higher levels than during colder weather.

Before you find yourself stuck on the side of the highway, with smoke and hot steam coming from your hood, here are some easy tips you can take to help prevent further engine or car damage if your car overheats when you’re on the road:

Watch your temperature gauge. If you notice that the temperature keeps rising or your engine light comes on, turn off your air conditioning system immediately and open your windows. Your air conditional system, especially during hot weather, can become a burden, adding additional heat to an already hard-working engine.

Turn off your engine. If you turned off your air conditioning and your engine is still hot – don’t risk it. Pull over as soon as you can and give your engine a rest. It can take about 30 minutes for an overheating engine to cool down. If you continue to drive with an overheating engine, you could cause major damage to your vehicle.

Keep an extra bottle of coolant and a large container of water in the car. If you suspect your car may be leaking coolant or if you’re worried that your vehicle could overheat, err on the side of caution and bring both coolant (also known as antifreeze) and a large container of water with you in your car. If you do have a leak, carefully open your radiator cap after the engine has cooled. Use a cloth over the cap to project your hand when you open it. Refill your radiator with coolant and/or water, but don’t pour cold water into a hot radiator – it could cause your engine block to crack. This will give you time to drive your car to your local automotive repair shop, like Escondido Auto Tech.

Check your hoses. Make sure your upper and lower radiator hose, and any other heater hoses, aren’t broken, twisted or disconnected. If your coolant levels are fine, yet your car is overheating, the problem lies somewhere else under the hood. It’s difficult to determine what the problem may be unless you bring your vehicle in to an auto repair shop. You could have a broken fan belt, a leaking hose, a bad water pump or even a broken thermostat.

Turn on the heat. If your car continues to overheat and you’re trying to make it to an auto repair shop, turn on your heater and blower, which will help pull heat away from your engine.

Don’t ride your brakes. If you’re stuck crawling along in busy traffic, try not to ride your brakes. This makes your engine heat up. If you’re stopped in traffic with an overheating engine, shift into neutral or park and rev up your engine a bit. This will help cool off your radiator.

If you’re worried that your car could leave you stranded on the road in the hot summer sun, schedule a thorough car inspection at Escondido Auto Tech by calling us at (760)745-4454. Our experienced technicians will make sure your vehicle is road-ready for your daily commute or an end-of-summer road trip.