What to Do About an Overheated Engine: Prevention and Solution

Perhaps one of the most terrifying scenarios when driving is seeing clouds of steam billow from the hood as the temp gauge needle slams into the red line. Chances are, it happens while you’re alone at night, and without cell phone reception. Fortunately, the cause of engine overheating is preventable as long as you are aware of what causes it.

There are a handful of parts that need to be checked in order to maintain a safe driving environment. First, make sure your coolant is in full supply and of good quality. Check the radiator core to make sure it is not blocked. Have your thermostat tested to make sure it is working properly. Examine the fan blades to see if any are cracked or broken. Check the radiator cap to be sure that it is maintaining sufficient pressure.

Sometimes it seems that engine overheating can occur despite preventative measures. In this case, it is important to pull over to a safe area and turn off your car. Here you can give your vehicle a chance to cool down. It’s important to not lift the hood or unscrew the gas or radiator caps while the car is still hot, as built pressure can cause bodily injuries. Now you can check for the level of coolant, look for holes in hoses, and whether or not the thermometer appears to be working.

If you are unable to solve the issue, drive in short increments until you have arrived to a familiar, public destination.  It’s important to not drive the vehicle over long distances.

Unfortunately, there is a myriad of causes to an overheated engine, so you may have to take your vehicle in to a mechanic. Although this is not an ideal situation, at least you will be familiar with how to prevent it from happening in the future.

 

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