Although engine overheating is an issue typically considered during the summer, it is just as likely to happen when the temperature outside is low. It is vital that you take certain actions when your engine is getting far too hot. Immediate action will prevent the engine from breaking down completely and forcing you to pay a lot more in repair costs.
What to Do in the Event of Overheating
You should be able to tell if there is too much heat within your engine because the temperature gauge on your dashboard will move over toward “H.” You will also probably notice the interior being far warmer than it should be. If you suspect there is an issue with your engine, follow these steps:
- Safely pull over to the side of the road.
- Open the hood to dispense some of the heat.
- Check the coolant level to see if it is too low. Use caution! Never remove a hot radiator cap.
- Add coolant (or water if that is all you have) to the tank if it is low.
- Check the cooling system for any leaks.
Once you have examined the system, you have to make a judgement call. You have to determine if your car is safe to drive or if you need to contact a tow service to take your vehicle to a local shop. When unsure, always err on the side of caution and call a tow truck.
What Not to Do
Similarly, there are plenty of things you need to avoid when you believe overheating is occurring. Avoid:
- Removing the radiator pressure cap while the engine is hot to prevent scorching hot coolant from spraying out.
- Turning on your vehicle’s AC to cool down your car
- Pouring water over the engine, because the sudden change in temperature can crack the engine’s body
- Continuing to drive your car
How to Prevent Overheating
Prevention is always the ideal course of action to take. You can be aware of the well-being of your engine by taking it in for routine inspections from an automotive professional. You should inspect the coolant level regularly and make sure it is always filled to the line. Routine maintenance is particularly important if you are going on a long road trip because your car is going to have a greater likelihood of overheating if it is constantly in motion. Have a personal auto repair kit inside your vehicle so you can conduct maintenance on your own if necessary.
What Services You Might Need If an Engine Overheats
The reason engines overheat is that an issue has come up within the cooling system. A professional will need to inspect every component of this system, which includes the:
- Cooling fan
- Radiator hose
- Fan switch
- Water pump
Most of the time, the failed component will just need to be repaired or replaced. However, if extensive damage has already occurred to your engine, then you may need to have the entire structure replaced. That service can cost quite a bit, so prevent that from happening by taking care of your car’s engine by not allowing it to overheat.