How to Handle the Situation if Your Car Overheats

How to Handle the Situation if Your Car Overheats

Car overheating doesn’t have to send you into a frenzy. Maintain composure and pull off to the side of the road, and turn off the air conditioner before that. If it isn't possible to stop, switch on the heater which will draw in and dissipate the warm air from the engine.

Measures to Take

1) Opening the Hood- Once at a safe spot, open the hood and let the car cool for 5-10 minutes. After that, look around the engine bay to see if the overheating was caused by a broken hose, a loss of coolant pressure, a leaky radiator, or a broken fan. If it is possible to fix one of those problems with what is already available in the car, do so before getting it towed towards a mechanic. Remember never to open the radiator cap immediately in a hot car as the temperature will be extremely high. 

2) Check Error Codes- Fortunately, modern cars will emit an error code that will reveal the source of the problem if they are getting overheated. If that doesn't happen, a plume of steam rising from beneath the hood is a good indicator that something has gone wrong.

3) Pouring Coolant or Water- Once the engine has cooled, check the coolant tank. If found empty, there could have been a leak, which will be confirmed by a drip or puddle appearing beneath the vehicle. Be careful while opening the radiator cap; once cool, the radiator must receive any water or coolant, which will sustain till the time a replacement or repair is done. Most cars require a 50/50 mix of coolant and water to avoid overheating, so people won't be able to drive for hours on end with only water. 


If stuck in traffic and unable to halt, keep these things in mind:


  • Allow water and air to flow through the radiator by keeping the car in neutral or parking and revving the engine.
  • Instead of braking and accelerating in stop-and-go traffic, consider creeping. Braking tends to increase vehicle temperature through friction.

4) Bubbling Within the Radiator- If bubbling is visible inside the radiator or coolant reservoir, there clearly is air inside, which may have resulted in a leaking or blown head gasket. If milky hues in the engine oil can be seen, it means a blown gasket. When coolant gets into contact with the oil, it contaminates it.

What if the Overheated Engine is Ignored?

As with any broken item, more use is likely to break it beyond repair. Ignorance can lead to one or more of the following:

  1. a) Damaged Radiator- The radiator is probably already damaged by now, but it can be fixed in the early stages of overheating. Ruptured hoses, bursting cooling systems, and failed radiator stems will become visible upon driving more.
  2. b) Engine Damage- Every engine's parts are rated to endure certain operating temperatures, and soon unfavorable results may be seen. If certain temperatures are exceeded for an extended length of time, deformed metals, including heads, pistons, cranks, cams, and everything else will be visible. What it means is that there are high chances of inflated expenses for repair and replacement. Those who want to prevent such a situation must not be ignorant.

How to Handle the Situation if Your Car Overheats - Midlands Toyota

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