What To Do When Your Car Overheats

overheating_car

An overheated car is something to send to a professional technician, but we all know cars don’t wait until you’re at a car dealership to get hot.

Sometimes, you’re in the middle of nowhere and your temperature gauge starts rising and you don’t know what to do, but you know you need to get your car to someplace else.

Well, we’re here to help. Here is what to do if your car overheats.

Turn Off the Engine

This sounds obvious, but it is of such vital importance that it has to be mentioned. If your car’s temperature gauge gets into the danger zone, you smell coolant, or you see steam coming from the engine bay, it’s time to shut off the engine as soon as you safely can.

This is one of those scenarios in which you really can ruin your engine for good. So if you do nothing else, shut off the engine and let it cool.

Open the Hood

Pop open the hood and see if you can tell what the problem is. There are a lot of different reasons a car might overheat, but some of them will be obvious when you open the hood. For example, a common cause of overheating is a broken radiator hose, which lets coolant escape and results in a hot motor. If this is what happened, you’re probably looking at a steam of coolant shooting out of a hose.

Remove the Radiator Cap

Caution: You must be extremely careful about this. An overheated engine will be filled with outrageously hot liquid that might be under pressure. Let the engine cool down until it is no longer under pressure, then, with a rag to protect your hand, remove the radiator cap. Steam will come out. If you can’t see any water/coolant in the radiator, you need to add some.

This advice applies only if, as we suggested at the top, you’re in the middle of nowhere and need to get your car to safety. If you can, just have the car towed to a technician. If you can’t, you need to add some water or coolant or, ideally, a 50-50 mixture of the two.

Start the Car

Assuming you don’t have a leaking radiator hose, assuming you’ve allowed your car a good 10-20 minutes to cool, and assuming your radiator is now full of coolant/water, you can start your engine.

Keep a very close eye on the temperature gauge and shut the car off again immediately.

We hope we’ve made it clear that this is a stop-gap solution to a problem that requires the attention of an expert technician, like the ones we have at Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC. Come see us, and you’ll be back on the road in no time with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your vehicle was repaired by pros with genuine GM parts.

(c) 2013 Finnegan Auto Blog