What should you do if your car overheats?

Imagine that you are having a wonderful time driving your Subaru BRZ on the highway and looking forward to spending the weekend at the beach. Calamity befalls the travelling party on the road for a couple of hours. When the car’s engine begins to smoke, the family has no choice but to pull over.

Modern cars, like the Subaru BRZ, have cooling systems that are very advanced. They have different kinds of heat sensors and electric fans that are controlled by a computer to keep your car running in any weather. Even so, it’s still possible to get too hot.

Make sure you are ready when a disaster occurs, and empower yourself regarding what to do and what not to do if the engine in your car overheats.

Why Do Engines Heat Up?

There are many possible causes of engine overheating. Most of the time, this occurs because there is an issue with the cooling system, which prevents heat from the engine compartment from escaping. The problem may have been caused by a leak in the cooling system, a faulty radiator fan, a damaged water pump, or a coolant hose clogged with debris.

An emergency exists whenever an engine is overheating, regardless of the cause. There is a chance that your engine will sustain significant damage, some of which may be beyond repair.

Signs the Engine is Overheating

If you can take measures to cool your engine before it overheats to the point of failure, you may reduce the likelihood of irreparable engine damage. However, you must first observe the following indicators of overheating:

  • Under the car’s hood; you may notice steam, which can resemble smoke.
  • You have a temperature gauge on your dashboard that says “H” or “red zone” when the temperature gets to that level. But the symbols on the engine temperature gauge can be different. To find out more, check the manual that came with your car.
  • Odd smells are coming from the engine area. For example, leaking coolant may give off a pleasant smell, while leaking oil may give a smoky smell.

What Should You Do If Your Engine Overheats?

Take the following steps and contact your local repair shop when you notice the engine overheating.

1. Off the AC, max the heat

Remember to turn off the AC immediately to make the engine work less complicated. Then turn up the heat as high as possible. Doing this allows you to keep the engine running well until you can pull over to a secure place.

Sometimes, that may be enough to stop the overheating, but you’ll know it’s working when the warning light passes out, or the temperature gauge goes back to neutral.

2. Find a safe spot to stop

Find a safe location nearby to stop and switch off the engine. Allow the engine at least fifteen minutes to cool down. Keep a close eye on the temperature gauge; the reading should be normal as the engine cools down. If you have roadside assistance, now is a good time to call for help because you may require a tow. You might also consider contacting a friend to pick you up.

3. If you have a coolant, check and add it

If the coolant level in your vehicle is low, a speedy topping-off may be all that is required to prevent the engine from overheating and getting damaged. However, this will not be of any assistance if your radiator fan or water pump is not working properly or if a coolant hose is obstructed. Your car should have instructions on the coolant reservoir tank and how to fill it up.

4. Turn the engine back on

Carefully start the engine and drive to the nearest auto repair shop if your car isn’t being towed. The temperature gauge is something to keep an eye on while going. It would be best to pull over and let the engine cool down if it keeps rising.

What Not to Do if Your Car’s Engine Is Overheating

1. Keep your calm, don’t panic

Though your car’s engine may be overheating, you can remain calm. Try not to swerve into oncoming traffic or slam on the brakes abruptly when you need to pull off the road.

2. Pull over and stop the car

If your vehicle’s engine is getting too hot, you should pull over immediately. Although you can reach your destination before the engine totally stops working, doing so might result in significant and costly damage.

3. Don’t open the hood right away

Once you have stopped the vehicle, wait until the engine has cooled down before looking under the hood. When the hood is opened too quickly, steam or smoke may shoot out, leading to burns or other injuries. Have patience. Wait patiently until the indicator on the engine temperature gauge has stopped moving before opening the hood.

4. Don’t wait until the engine heats up again

An overheating engine will not resolve itself, even if it appears that the engine coolant has solved the problem. It will only worsen if nothing is done to fix the problem. If you can diagnose what’s wrong with the engine and make the necessary repairs, there’s a chance you can keep it running.

Take your vehicle into an auto care workshop to inspect the entire vehicle. The technicians there will be able to tell you what is wrong with it and provide you with their expert recommendations regarding how to fix it.

How to Prevent Your Car’s Engine from Overheating

If you take the time to maintain your vehicle properly, it will compensate you with dependable transportation. According to the guidelines provided by your vehicle manufacturer, the most effective measures you can take to prevent the engine from overheating are to perform routine radiator maintenance and flush and replace the coolant.

As part of your preventative maintenance, you should check the radiator and the engine. This will help you identify and address potential issues before they become more serious.

This summer, cool off at the beach instead of spending time in traffic. Don’t lose your cool; instead, find the closest Complete Auto Care centre in your area and schedule an appointment with one of their trained mechanics.