What do you do when your car overheats

Its summer and it’s hot out there. Overheating of your car engine is often thought of as being associated with warm weather – but the fact of the matter is that your car engine is built to dissipate heat regardless of the season – if your engine’s cooling system is working properly, that is.

When you are driving it’s always a good idea to check the indicators on your dashboard periodically, so that you are immediately alerted when anything starts to malfunction.

If you are in a situation where your car’s temperature gauge starts to move into the red zone, here is what you should and should not do:

  • Stop the engine immediately. Pull over and turn the engine off, so that you prevent any further engine damage
  • Do not open the radiator cap when the engine is hot. The temperature gauge is an indicator of the temperature of the coolant in the radiator – so if the temperature gauge is in the red zone – that coolant is extremely hot. The coolant in the radiator is under pressure – and you really don’t want to get sprayed with hot coolant – so wait until the engine has completely cooled
  • Check to see where the problem may exist – is there a coolant leak under the car? If there is, is it from the radiator, or a hose or an engine part such as the drive belt? If it is a radiator or hose leak, and the leak is small, you can add coolant to the radiator once the engine has cooled, which may enable you to drive to the nearest service station or workshop. Don’t drive without a fully functioning drive belt, as you may cause major damage – call for help.
  • If you do drive further (once the engine has cooled and there is sufficient coolant in the radiator) – turn off your air conditioning to reduce strain on the engine.
  • Have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible – repeated instances of overheating will damage your engine, and its worth it to get the problem identified and properly rectified as soon as possible.
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