How to Prevent and Handle an Overheated Engine

Summer is almost here, and with hot weather comes a dangerously hot car engine, and quite possibly an overheated engine. As the temperatures rise, we risk overheating our car engine whenever we drive. This causes extreme damage and expensive repairs, so be sure to follow these tips to prevent and handle an overheated engine!

Prevention
  • Be prepared by keeping a spare gallon of coolant or distilled water in the trunk of your car.
  • Take your car in for a tune up and make sure your car engine has no coolant leakage from radiator hoses.
  • Have your car engine fan checked when getting your oil changed.
  • Keep an eye on your temperature gauge when driving. If the gauge is inching over the halfway mark, turn off your air conditioning and avoid driving uphill.
During the Drive

If the temperature gauge rises over the halfway mark or you see steam coming from the car engine, your car is overheating. When this occurs, pull over when possible. If you are unable to immediately pull over:

  • Turn on your car’s air to the hottest level with the blower at the strongest setting. This pulls hot air off the car engine and into the cabin.
  • If stopped in traffic, put your car in neutral or park and lightly rev the engine to encourage water and air flow.
  • If in stop-and-go traffic, try to creep forward rather than start and stop. Constant breaking generates friction and produces heat.
When Pulled Over:
IMPORTANT: If you have an overheated engine, do not touch the engine or the radiator cap until the vehicle has completely cooled off
  • Immediately turn off your car, open the hood, and wait at least 30 minutes for everything to cool down.
  • Once the car has cooled, top off the plastic coolant reservoir with the coolant or distilled water stored in your trunk.
  • If your car engine has been damaged, do not attempt to drive. Instead, call a tow-truck.

It can be scary when your car engine begins to overheat, but it’s important to remember to turn off your car as soon as possible and not to touch the engine until everything is completely cool. Be sure to follow these steps to help prevent and handle overheating during the warm weather!

Do you have any other tips on how to deal with an overheated engine? Let me know in the comments! And follow me on twitter @ConsumerAutoAdv for more auto advice!

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