There are around 280 million registered vehicles in the US alone. Shockingly, about a quarter of those vehicles are at least 16 years old. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that some of those vehicles will develop car engine problems.
Even if you tick all the regular maintenance boxes, you can still find yourself by the side of the road with an overheating car engine. While an overheating engine isn’t necessarily a catastrophe, it can still leave you stranded for a while or late for work.
Not sure what to do in that situation? Keep reading for our quick guide on dealing with an overheating car engine.
Understand the Signs
There are a few key signs that can alert you that your car engine is overheating. The most common signs include:
- Steam from beneath the hood
- Temperature gauge in the red
- Odd odors from the engine, such as a burnt or sweet smell
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time that you take some active steps.
Turn Up Your Heater
Turning up your heater is one of the simplest things you can do if your car engine overheats. The heater helps pull heat away from the engine. It’s a temporary fix, but it can keep the engine temp down long enough to get you to a parking lot or auto repair center.
Pull to the Side of the Road
If the heater method doesn’t work, it’s time for a more direct approach. You should pull your vehicle to the side of the road or into a parking lot where possible. Let the vehicle sit for 15-20 minutes, which gives the motor time to cool off a little.
Check Your Coolant Level
Once you let the car engine cool, you should check your coolant levels. Use a heavy glove or towel to slowly unscrew the radiator cap. Don’t rush this because the coolant will still be under pressure.
If it’s low, add a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water to top it off.
Get the Vehicle Serviced
Even if adding coolant keeps the vehicle from overheating, it’s another temporary fix. Something has gone wrong in the engine that needs work. That means you should go directly to your mechanic as soon as possible for a car engine repair.
Tell them the engine overheated and any steps you took to resolve it on the road. That may help them track down the reason for the problem.
Overheating Car Engine and You
An overheating car engine can seem like a simple fix. If the coolant is low, surely adding coolant will resolve the issue.
Unfortunately, low coolant is only one of about eight or ten reasons for overheating. Plus, the low coolant might stem from a coolant leak.
Solving the problem usually calls for an experienced garage. They can analyze the error codes from your engine and apply their experience to pin down the exact culprit.
Dependable Car Care offers a full range of auto repair services. If your vehicle overheats, contact Dependable Car Care today to schedule an appointment.