The modern car engine has evolved to be more powerful and more durable than it has ever been before. They are sophisticated and resistant to extreme temperatures, despite how cold or hot it is outside. However, negligence and poor-quality maintenance can still lead to the devastating effects of engine overheating. It is important to know how to handle such a situation in case it happens to you.
What Causes Engine Overheating?
There are various things that can cause your car to overheat. Most of the time, it comes down to the cooling system, which comprises many parts that help cool the engine. These include coolant fluid, water pump, radiator, and more. When these parts wear down or leaks occur, it can cause your motor to overheat. Additionally, a hot day can accelerate the likelihood of overheating. That is why we always recommend having an extra bottle of coolant fluid on hand.
What to Do If Your Engine is Overheating
First, you should know how to spot an overheating problem. Luckily, the motor will make it pretty clear with the following signs:
- Temperature gauge rising
- Warning light illuminated on the dash (coolant temperature light or check engine light)
- Steam from under the hood
- Ticking or thumping sounds
- Strange smell, sometimes sweet or burning
- Loss in engine power
If you notice any of the following signs above, please remember to follow these steps:
Turn on the heater - this will draw away the heat in the engine and into the passenger compartment.
Pull over to a safe spot - if the engine doesn't cool down after step 1, you will need to shut the engine off as soon as possible. Consider calling roadside assistance, especially if you don’t have coolant fluid on hand.
Wait for the engine to cool off - at least 15 minutes
Add coolant - Open the coolant or radiator cap very slowly to release pressure. Add the coolant to the max line.
Restart the engine - If the temperature gauge shows a normal temperature, or the light goes out after a little bit, you are safe to continue driving. If it is still running hot, please call for a tow.
Either way, an overheating engine should never be overlooked. It can cause irreversible engine damage if you aren’t careful. If you manage to get out of this situation successfully, you still need to care for your cooling system and engine. For all your cooling needs, please visit the team at Crossroads Tire Service, LLC for quality maintenance and repairs.