What to do when your car overheats especially on a hot day, and you’re stuck in traffic. Your car is idling and the temperature gauge on the dashboard is starting to creep up. It’s time to panic right? Not necessarily! Check out these tips for what to do when your car overheats:
Turn on your heater
The next step is to turn on the heat to maximum. You should aim for a temperature of 90 degrees. Do not use the AC (air conditioner) if you have one; this will actually make things worse.
The reason for this is that turning on the AC lowers your engine temperature by cooling down your engine, which means that it can’t get rid of its heat quickly enough and could cause problems with overheating.
Get out of traffic
- Get out of traffic. When your car overheats, you want to get it off the road as soon as possible. Traffic is dangerous, and cars are heavy—if yours tips over while it’s still running, it could start a fire or explode. If you’re not sure how much longer you can drive safely with your engine at full throttle and no air-conditioning (you should be able to keep going for another mile or two), pull over and park the vehicle in a safe location before continuing on foot.
- Find a safe place to stop if possible; otherwise, find an open area where other drivers can see that there’s something wrong with your car so they’ll be careful around it and call for help if needed
Turn off the air conditioning
If you have air conditioning in your car, turn it off. This will reduce the load on the engine, which means less gas is being burned and less heat is being generated. As an added bonus, this also helps to cool down your engine faster than if you leave it running with the AC on. Once your car has cooled off and you’re safely stopped at a rest area or service station, feel free to restart your AC!
Find a safe place to stop
Once you have found a safe place to stop, pull over as far off the road as possible. This will help minimize your risk of being hit by other vehicles. When you are ready to stop, look for a wide shoulder or parking lot. If there is no shoulder available and stopping in traffic is not an option, find a safe area where someone won’t be hit by your car if it stalls or overheats while driving on the highway (exit ramps are often used).
Turn off the engine
- Turn off the engine.
- Wait a few minutes to let the car cool down.
- Check the temperature gauge again to make sure it’s not overheating anymore. If it is, repeat steps 1-3 until it doesn’t overheat anymore and then drive home carefully before letting your car cool down for good (usually about 20 minutes).
Cool down, and then assess how severe the problem is.
To cool down your car, turn off the air conditioning (unless it’s freezing outside), roll up the windows and leave the car in a well-ventilated space such as a garage or driveway.
If you’re able to safely open your hood, check for signs of damage: oil or water leaks, engine fluid pooling underneath the car, steam coming out from under the hood. If there seems to be no serious damage or visible fluid leaks then it’s probably safe to drive around town until you can get a mechanic on hand.
But if there are signs of serious problems like damaged hoses or an overheated fan belt then DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR! Leave it sitting there and call someone who knows how to fix cars.
Be sure to turn off your air conditioner.
The air conditioner uses a lot of power, which can cause the engine to overheat. This also means that it may not be able to cool down your car as quickly as you’d like. It’s best to turn off the air conditioner if you suspect that your vehicle is overheating.
If you do have an incident where your car overheats and damages its engine, then replacing a burnt-out fuse might be necessary. However, if you had turned off your air conditioner before taking out your car for a spin in high temperatures (or while driving through an area with poor weather), then there will be no need for repairs—just take care of any emergency repairs instead!
Open the hood to help the engine cool down
- Open the hood to help the engine cool down. Make sure that it is safe to do so, and if possible, open your windows to help the car cool down. Do not open the pressure cap on your radiator.
Use a combination of coolant, water and antifreeze (depending on your vehicle’s needs) to cool your radiator.
Coolant is a mixture of water and ethylene glycol; it’s what keeps your engine from overheating. Antifreeze is a mixture of water; ethylene glycol and silicate which helps prevent corrosion inside your engine. Your vehicle may need one or both depending on its make and model. Check the owner’s manual to find out how much coolant should be added. Read Also : How to Reduce Exhaust Noise
After adding more coolant:
- Start your car again and let it run until the temperature gauge goes back down to normal levels
- If you can’t get another place to park safely while warming up, turn off all accessories except for headlights (air conditioning doesn’t use much power)
Do not open the pressure cap on your radiator.
Opening the pressure cap on your radiator will cause a rapid release of steam and hot coolant, which can be dangerous and possibly even fatal. The pressure cap is designed to release pressure slowly, so do not open it until you are ready to top off your engine with water.
Look for a leaking hose or other problems.
If you’re sure that your car is overheating and not just a faulty gauge, look for signs of a leak. Check the radiator cap for leaks or looseness, especially if you’ve recently done any work on the cooling system. Look for coolant dripping from hoses and reservoir caps. You can also check for rust around the filler neck and overflow tank in order to determine if there’s been any significant amount of coolant loss recently.
If your car keeps overheating, check underneath it for leaks. Sometimes an oil pan gasket can fail or other seals may need replacement after years or even decades of use—if these are suspected problems but aren’t immediately visible when checking under the hood then you should take steps to diagnose them before replacing parts unnecessarily (or worse yet replacing them incorrectly).
Call for help if needed; do not attempt to drive the vehicle until it has cooled down.
If your car overheats, don’t attempt to drive it until it has cooled down. If you do, you could damage your engine and cause an accident or be hurt.
When your car overheats, you should stop, pull over, open the hood and then call for help to avoid damage to your engine
If your car overheats, you should:
- Stop and pull over. The last thing you want to do is continue driving and risk damaging your engine.
- Open up the hood. This will allow heat to escape from under the hood and help prevent damage to other components of your vehicle, such as wires and hoses.
- Call for help! You may need to get towed home or towed somewhere else—it’s best not to take any chances with an overheated car by trying to fix it yourself. Read Also: Why Is My Engine Running Hot But Not Overheating?
The most important thing to do if your car overheats is to turn off the engine immediately. The next step is to find a safe place where you can park and cool down your engine. After that, assess the severity of the problem and get it fixed as soon as possible!