Here’s What to do – And Not to do – When Your Car Overheats
Besides a flat tire, an overheated car is one of the most common reasons for needing roadside assistance. Although overheating is becoming rarer in modern cars, there is always a risk, especially in hot weather conditions. As we’re shaking off the winter weather and heading into warmer months, here’s what to do if your car overheats.
When a car is most likely to overheat
If you are over exerting your car, you are at risk of overheating. Older cars are especially susceptible to overheating, but even the most well-maintained vehicle can overheat. On hot days, stop and go traffic can be too much for your vehicle. If you are driving up a steep incline, your engine could be overworked and overheat. Similarly, riding the brakes on the way down a steep hill can also cause your car to overheat.
What to do when your car overheats
When you are driving you always need to pay attention to the dashboard. The dashboard is how your car communicates with you, letting you know if there’s a problem. Don’t wait for the warning light to come on, because by then, the damage is done. Keep your eye on the temperature gauge, and if at any point the temperature starts to rise, take precaution. It’s natural for the temperature to rise and fall a bit, especially in heavy traffic when you are constantly alternating between the gas and the brakes. If you see the temperature start to rise, there are ways to adjust your driving to help your car cool down and keep performing at its best. But, if it’s too late and the temperature is rising:
- Shut off the AC (if you’re using it)
- Move over to the shoulder as calmly as possible
- Turn on the heat to release some of the heat built up in the engine compartment
- Open the hood
- Wait for the engine to cool down
- Call roadside assistance
What NOT to do when your car overheats
You never want to try to remove the radiator cap when the car is hot. You’ll risk seriously scalding yourself when the coolant is released. Before you add cool water, make sure that everything has cooled down first. Adding cold water to a hot tank can cause the engine blocks to crack due to sudden changes in temperature. Your best weapon against a car that is overheating is to be patient and wait it out.
Preventing your car from overheating
If you are in heavy traffic and the temperature is rising, stop riding the brake. Find a nice even pace where you can coast, maybe even in neutral sometimes, rather than speeding up and then stopping. You can prevent overheating and help the engine stay cool by driving as smoothly as possible.
24 Hour Mobile Mechanics is committed to providing the best roadside assistance and auto repair service. We always provide detailed information and estimates leaving you with a feeling of confidence that the job is done right. We make auto repair easy and convenient by coming to you. Our Service Area is From Springfield, MO to St Louis, MO, and on to Edwardsville, Illinois – left and Right of Interstate I-44.
For car repair, call (573) 341-0181. For semi-truck repair, call 573-341-0111.