What to Do If Your Car Overheats?
Posted on March 12, 2020
Nobody likes to have car problems. Most people have no idea what to do with a car overheating. Hopefully, it's not something you need to deal with regularly. If you find yourself facing such a situation, the experts at Caledon Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram want to help with some good advice. After all, the last thing you want is to become stranded, or face expensive repairs.
Shut it Off
The first thing you should do when your car is overheating is turn off the engine. As long as the engine continues to run, more heat will be generated. Of course, choose somewhere safe to stop, because sadly you're going to be there for a little while.
Once you've successfully stopped the car and shut off the engine, open the hood. If steam is coming out, you'll need to wait until that stops completely. Opening up the hood will allow the hot air that's trapped under it to escape quickly. The longer the engine sits with the heat trapped all around it, the more likely you'll be facing some big repairs.
You can turn the key in the ignition just far enough that the gauges come on, but the engine stays off. This allows you to read the engine temperature. Don't touch anything under the hood until the temperature drops significantly.
Check the Cooling System
Once everything has cooled off some, you can start to assess the situation.
The most common reason for why an engine overheats is a lack of coolant. Locate the overflow container for the cooling system. It's a plastic container with a cap on it. If the overflow is pressurized, open it slowly and carefully.
Two lines are on the side of the container. One shows where the coolant should be filled up to, and the other shows the lowest level it should be. Since coolant expands as it heats up, those levels are for when the engine is cold. If you notice the coolant level seems to be low, top it off with some coolant. Water will work as well, if that's all you have.
Look at the rest of the coolant system. Do not remove the cap on the radiator, since you risk serious injury doing so. Just look at the hoses leading to the radiator, but don't touch them, since they'll likely be hot. Notice if any coolant seems to be leaking from them, including at the connections.
Call for a Tow
If you refilled the coolant system, and your vehicle overheats further down the road, pull over and open the hood again. You should also call for a tow truck, because your cooling system obviously has a large leak, or some other problem.
Sometimes, overheating can be caused by something like a fan that stopped working, or a thermostat that's gone bad. A professional shop can diagnose the problem accurately.
The best way to avoid this problem is to properly maintain your car. Changing your oil regularly, following manufacturer recommendations for coolant system flushes, etc. ensures everything works as designed.
Contact the service department at Caledon Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram for all your maintenance and repair needs.