You are going on a road trip with the family; your car is teeming with the din of chatter and happy cackling. Suddenly you smell something unpleasant as though something is burning. You check the temperature gauge on your dashboard and see the needle on ‘H’ and realize your fun-filled plans just got a lot less fun.
One of the most common car troubles a driver faces is an overheated engine. Encountering an overheated engine can put a damper on a driver’s driving shenanigans and force them to look for ways to fix it. Although it’s a common issue, it is often than not wrongly treated, leading to more significant damage to a vehicle. Treating an overheated car right is essential to keep it functional and be safe. Here’s how you can deal with an overheated engine correctly and save yourself (and your vehicle) from unnecessary trouble afterward.
Turn the AC off and Ramp up the Heat
Turning off the AC in your car should be the first thing you should do when you notice an increase in your engine’s temperature. Once you turn the AC off, crank up the heater to take away the engine's heat. Turning the heater on may seem counterproductive, but it’s an effective way to redirect heat from a car’s engine to its insides and stop the overheating. And while that happens, you can move your vehicle to a safe spot to avoid accidents. Although you will feel uncomfortable due to the rising temperature inside your car, you will save it from any significant damage.
Turn off the Engine
When a car starts to overheat, many drivers feel tempted to power through their journey and reach the desired location, hoping that they’ll fix the issue once they reach their destination. While in an ideal world that could happen, in the real world, it doesn’t, and usually, an overheated car that’s forced to bolt through an in-process drive ends up incurring irreversible damage. Therefore, don’t test your vehicle and turn it off as soon as you realize it’s getting a fever. If you can take it to a safe spot, do so or turn the hazard lights to indicate trouble to fellow drivers.
Add a Coolant, if you have one
If you have a little know-how and practice of engine maintenance, only then attempt to execute this tip. A car’s engine typically heats up because the heat in it is not getting an outlet to escape. And that can happen for a bunch of reasons, but the most common out of them all is a clogged coolant hose or broken radiator. In any case, calming down an overheated engine can be done by adding coolant to the reservoir tank.
But be sure not to open the hood right away to look for the coolant reservoir, wait for the heat to fizzle out a little (an indication of that would be the dissipation of the smoke coming from your engine). Once that happens, only then add coolant, and that too only if you have the right one. If not, then wait for roadside assistance to come to your rescue.
Don’t try to play mechanic when you have a run-in with an overheated engine and seek assistance right away.