Today’s cars have sophisticated cooling systems, equipped with numerous heat sensors and computer-controlled electric fans designed to run your engine in any weather. But overheating can still occur.

Why do engines overheat?

There are many reasons why your car may overheat, but the main process of overheating involves a problem with the car’s cooling system that prevents heat from escaping from the engine compartment. This is often due to a leak or blockage in the engine cooling system or other components.

Components such as rubber hoses, gaskets, and water pumps can leak with regular wear and tear, says Richard Reina, Product Training Director, an online auto parts vendor. He adds that certain driving conditions, such as stopping and going on hot days, can put a lot of stress on the cooling system, causing it to malfunction. Fortunately, you can usually avoid this problem by having a regularly serviced mechanic check your car’s coolant և oil level և check hoses, air conditioners, thermostat այլ other parts of the cooling system, says Reina.

But what if your temperature gauge starts to rise to “H” or the warning light on the panel flashes? “The steps you take can mean the difference between replacing a $ 20 thermostat and ‘repairing thousands of dollars’,” says Reina.

What are the signs of engine overheating?

While every car և situation can be unique, there are some common signs you need to know when your car engine starts to overheat.

  • Steam (often smoky) comes from the front of the car under the hood.
  • The engine temperature gauge rises “H” on the dashboard or driver panel or moves in the red part of the gauge.
  • Strange odors or odors coming from the front of the car, especially near the hood. Coolant leaks can often have a sweet odor, while oil leaks usually cause a burnt odor.

Here’s a list of products that should be on hand in the car if your car engine overheats.

  • A small, basic set of tools
  • A few liters of oil
  • 1 gallon coolant (50/50 antifreeze և water mixture)
  • Towel
  • Heavy gloves

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Here’s the 5 steps you need to take if your car overheats.

1. Turn on the heater

Sounds controversial, but Reina advises turning on the heater. It removes heat from the engine and enters the passenger compartment, reducing the load on the engine cooling system. In some circumstances, that may be enough to reverse the overheating, he says. You will know that it works if the warning light goes out or the temperature gauge returns to neutral.

2. Pull Over

If your car continues to overheat after running the heater for a few minutes, turn on and off the engine. “It’s the safest and safest way to cool the engine,” says Reina. If you have roadside assistance, now is a good time to call, as you may need a tow truck, Reina suggests.

3. Be patient

If you do not have roadside assistance, be patient. It will take at least 15 minutes for the engine to cool down. AT THE SAME TIME, do not do try to open the hat; The cooling material of the overheated car can exceed 230 degrees, says Reina. When the cap is open, there is a risk of splashing with hot water or steam. “Your personal safety is paramount,” he says. “Waiting for at least 15 minutes to allow the lid, engine, and exhaust coolant to cool.”

4. Add coolant

When you wait at least 15 minutes և the hat is cold to the touch, put on gloves, open the hat և find the radiator cap (refer to the owner’s manual if necessary), says Reyna. Cover the lid with a towel, push slowly in, and loosen it for a quarter turn to release the pressure that has accumulated during heating as the coolant expands. Then fully open the lid of the radiator, slowly add the coolant – half water, half antifreeze – until the liquid reaches the “full” line. You also need to add coolant to a small, transparent plastic drain tank next to the radiator, he says. Next, replace the cap և start the engine. “If the temperature gauge returns to normal or the red warning light goes out, you can be careful with the temperature gauge or light,” says Reina.

5. Drive to the service station

Adding coolant does nothing to solve the problem that initially caused your engine to overheat, but it often allows you to safely drive to the nearest repair station. “A professional should check your car’s cooling system,” says Reina. When driving, pay attention to the temperature gauge. And pay attention to everything, for example, the liquid under the car or the steam under the hood. “This basic information will greatly help in the diagnosis,” explains Reyna.

Download, print this PDF checklist, what to do, what to have on hand in case of overheating.

Do you need help along the way? Ask easily roadside assistance with GEICO Mobile application.

Read more. Awareness is important for any car problem. Here are seven car sounds to be heard. And make sure you have the right car insurance coverage to be prepared for the challenges that come your way.

By Patrick Rogers