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What to Do If Your Car Overheats

Car overheating
Car repair

The last thing one wants on a perfectly planned road trip is living the nightmare of a halted vehicle with smoke coming out of the bonnet.

The main reason why a car overheats is that the heat inside is stuck with no outlet. Your car’s cooling system malfunction which might cause the engine to start heating up as a result of the blocked heat, unable to escape.

What Can Cause a Car to Overheat?

Improper coolant levels and circulation, an internal blockage caused by debris, a malfunctioning thermostat, radiator or cooling fan, could be some of the few culprits that might be causing the car to overheat. The most common reason listed for car engine overheat is usually the car’s coolant or an issue with its cooling system.

  • Conditioning System Malfunction

There might be something wrong with the cooling system like with a broken connection as a result of which the heat is unable to escape, resulting in an overheated car engine. The reason for the overheating is mostly a coolant leak or some blockage in the cooling system in AC compressor or other components.

  • Improper Coolant Circulation or Leakage

The coolant functions to keep the engine cool and prevent it from overheating and from freezing in cold. Any loose hose connection in the coolant’s circulation will cause a severe engine malfunction due to overheating. Hence with cases when there is either leakage or the antifreeze mixture/fluid is not properly circulating the engine, or your car is running low in its coolant level, the engine will start overheating.

What Happens When a Car Overheats?

Prevention is indeed better than cure. Not every time your car might just suddenly start releasing smoke from under its hood, and instead, there might be signs before the engine overheats and gives up altogether.

Look for the following signs that will warn you that your car engine is overheating:

  • The car’s air-conditioning might have stopped, or a strange smell coming out of it could be one of the initial signs that your engine is overheating. The car heater might also not be able to keep it warm enough with a failed engine thermostat or low coolant level.
  • As soon as the engine temperature rises, the gauge might indicate a higher than normal temperature, slowly pointing towards the extreme red end.
  • The air inlet to the radiator could be blocked, or it could have been damaged, leading to its malfunction. A blown radiator will cause a sudden release of smoke from under the hood of your car.

What to Do When the Car Overheats?

It is not that your engine would suddenly explode, but it is crucial that you take steps once you’ve figured out the indications that things are wrong with your car’s heating. Driving an overheating engine can pose severe threats to not only the driver’s and the passenger’s lives but also the several other vehicles on the road. In such cases, you’ve to make sure that you safely pull over, wait for the engine to cool and get roadside assistance.

Take note of the following steps to do when your car overheats:

  • Put Out the Stress!

The first thing that you’ve to keep in mind in such situations is not to panic. 

Do not drag the breaks as it will only result in additional pressure to the overheated engine. Ride it slowly towards a safe space and park it instantly. 

  • Don’t push the engine too far!

Never continue to drive your car if it overheats. 

The engine’s heat might be gradually increasing, and you’ll be risking everyone’s life who’s around, by pushing it too far. Keeping it running will only increase the damage already done, resulting in a hefty damage price.

  • Ensure safe parking

After you’ve located the safe space, park your car and then rev the engine or place your car in neutral. Doing this can help to bring down the engine’s temperature by making the fan, and the water pump runs faster, which will pull more air and water through your car’s radiator.

  • Wait for it to cool

You’ve got to wait for the engine to cool down before you attempt to open the hood and examine the problem. By opening the hood immediately, you’ll be risking yourself to injuries from the smoke and steam from the overheated engine.

How Long Does It Take for a Car to Cool Down After Overheating?

If there is steam coming out of the engine, the engine can even take up to 30 minutes to cool down. Take at least 15 minutes off before you try and investigate the issue, this time will allow the heated engine and the leaking coolant(if any) to cool down.

  • Get Assistance

In this crucial situation when you’ve followed all the safe parking instructions as mentioned above, and are sure of no more at risk from the overheated running engine, for the next step – call for immediate roadside assistance. See if you can locate any service stations nearby for your help.

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