Overheated Engine: What Do I Do If My Car Overheats?
Nobody wants to find themselves in this situation. Maybe you are in a hurry to an appointment or to work, but if your car overheats, you need to follow important steps to stay safe. Your car can overheat for various reasons, so you need to be informed about what to do if it happens to you.
Pull over and turn off the engine.
Do not panic. Your destination can wait. You need to remain calm so that you can take the necessary precautions. Turn on your emergency flashers to indicate that you are having problems with your vehicle and, if possible, pull to the side of the road so that you do not block traffic.
If you cannot turn off your engine immediately, just open the windows of the car and turn on the central heating. Even though you feel uncomfortable driving the vehicle, you’ll temporarily be able to redistribute some of the heat of the overheating vehicle. Try not to accelerate and brake too much. Keep a consistent speed even that means driving slowly.
Open the hood very carefully.
Once you are able to pull over, do not open the hood if you still see smoke come out of it or if you feel the hood is extremely hot. You could get injured if the motor has not cooled down enough. In many cases, an overheated motor may take up to 30 minutes to cool down.
Examine the vehicle.
Remember that it is better to examine the engine after the motor has cooled down. Once you are sure the motor has cooled down enough, you may check the antifreeze/coolant. This may be a green or orange liquid many times found in a plastic tank near the radiator.
Is it full or worn out?
This is the decisive moment: if the antifreeze tank is full, that means the cause of overheated motor is more complex, and you’ll have to call a tow truck so a mechanic can have a further look into why the car is overheating. If your antifreeze tank is low, and if you see a puddle of liquid under the car, you can resolve the problem temporarily without a tow truck. You just need to open the radiator with a rag and refill it with antifreeze. If you do not have antifreeze on hand, use water. This will allow you to keep driving your vehicle until you resolve the problem of the antifreeze leak.
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