What to Do If Your Car Overheats While Driving
It can be surprisingly easy for your engine to overheat. Stop-and-go traffic, a sizzling summer afternoon, or cooling system problems can send your temperature gauge into the red. Whether you’re out on the highway or driving around Bloomington, MN, car overheating can quickly ruin the engine. Knowing what to do can help you avoid expensive repairs.
How to Deal With an Overheated Engine
Get Off the Road
Don’t drive more than a quarter mile with an overheated engine. Run the car’s heater full blast while you look for a safe place to pull over. This helps disperse hot air from the engine.
Let the Engine Cool
Overheated coolant temperatures can exceed 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the engine cool down for at least 15 minutes. Carefully open the hood. Stand clear while the heat dissipates.
Check Coolant Levels
Many cars have a coolant reservoir next to the radiator. If you’re not sure about your model, flip through the owner’s manual. Notice the coolant level. It’s a detail your mechanic will want to know when you take the car in for diagnostics.
Check the Radiator
Use a rag to slowly push down on the radiator cap while giving it half a turn. If you encounter escaping steam, quickly back off. Once you’re sure it’s safe to proceed, remove the radiator cap.
Add 50/50 Coolant
You can use water in the reservoir or radiator, but automotive pros strongly recommend a 50/50 coolant. Fill the reservoir to its coolant line or top off the radiator. Make sure both caps are secure, and then drive to the nearest auto service center. Keep a close eye on the thermostat gauge.
How to Minimize Overheating Risks
Regular engine maintenance helps minimize the risk of car overheating. Take care of basics by regularly checking coolant levels. Pay attention to the temperature gauge and keep extra coolant on board just in case.
Let your mechanic handle the rest. Routine visits to the auto service center can head off these cooling system problems.
- Clogged radiator cooling fins
- Leaking cooling system hoses
- Damaged coolant reservoirs
- Faulty cooling fans and loose fan belts
We Help You Handle the Heat
If you’re concerned about your car overheating, stop by our Bloomington, MN, shop. Our engine maintenance pros keep your car ready to handle the heat. With seven locations across the state, you can count on Kennedy Transmission to keep you on the road year-round.