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What To Do When Your Car Overheats

There are many reasons engines overheat—and it’s important to know what are the reasons so that you can prevent them from happening in the future. When your engine overheats, it can cause severe damage to your car. If you let the temperature get too high for a long time, the engine could stop working altogether. Here are some common reasons:

SIGNS YOUR ENGINE IS OVERHEATING

There are a few overheating engine warning signs. The temperature gauge will be red. If your car has no warning light, watch the gauge to know when to pull over or take other precautions. Overheating is also indicated by loud noises, smoking, or leaking coolant.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR ENGINE OVERHEATS

If your car is overheating, you should check the following:

  • Check your coolant level. If you’re low on coolant, add some.
  • Check your fan belt for cracks. If it’s cracked or broken, replace it.
  • Inspect the radiator for leaks and cracks in the fins.
  • Look at how cold your engine feels— If your engine is hot to the touch but only slightly warm where the thermostat usually sits (under a radiator hose), there’s still pressure inside, and no leak has occurred. However, if it feels normal but much hotter than usual when checking under a hose, this indicates an overfilled expansion tank or an air pocket inside.

TURN OFF THE A/C AND CRANK THE HEAT

 If your car overheats, turn off the air conditioning, turn on the heat, open all the windows and drive slower. If none of these options are available, try turning around and returning to the highway from a different direction. If you’re in a place with extreme temperatures, keep track of how long it takes for your temperature gauge to go back to normal. If it doesn’t start cooling down quickly enough, you might want to stop somewhere safe before continuing your trip.

FIND A SAFE PLACE TO PULL OVER

When your car overheats, you should first find a safe place to pull over. On the highway, there’s little room to maneuver. If you can safely pull over, avoid stopping on the road, which leaves your car vulnerable to a collision.

CHECK AND ADD COOLANT (IF YOU HAVE IT)

When your car overheats, it is due to coolant loss, a blocked radiator, and internal engine failure. If your vehicle is overheating and the coolant level indicator light on the dashboard is illuminated, check to see if there is still fluid in the system. If not, fill the radiator with distilled water (or an approved antifreeze) until the maximum mark on the gauge is reached.

RESTART THE ENGINE

If your car is overheating, you should stop driving it. Turn off the engine to cool before restarting. Turn off all electrical systems in the car so nothing drains the battery while you wait, or park in the shade so air can circulate. Once your engine’s temperature gauge (or digital readout) drops below the normal operating range (ambient temperature +10 degrees), you may drive again with caution.

HOW TO PREVENT AN OVERHEATED CAR ENGINE

Make sure to check the coolant level and add more if needed. Replace cracked or broken hoses before they cause further damage to your cooling system. Be mindful of the temperature gauge, especially when driving in extreme weather conditions or on long road trips. If your car overheats, have an emergency kit and add more.For further information on our Auto Repair Services, call Don’s Auto Repair in Los Angeles, CA, at 323-254-2844.

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