What should you do if your car overheats? Thankfully, this isn’t a common summer problem these days. Even the worst Chicago heat wave won’t make a modern engine overheat unless something else is seriously wrong. But if your old car happens to spring a coolant leak, it’s always better to be prepared! If your engine starts to overheat, there are a few steps you can take to help cool it down and minimize the damage.
Steps To Take If Your Engine Is Overheating:
At the first sign of overheating, turn off your air conditioning. Open the windows instead. This will decrease the load on your engine to help it cool off faster.
After that, if your engine is still overheating, try turning on the heat instead. Keep the windows open, but crank the blower all the way up. This may not be fun for your passengers, but it will help transfer heat from the engine compartment into the passenger compartment of your car.
At this point, if this doesn’t cool down your engine enough, you should look for a place to safely pull over. Go slow, go easy on the brakes, and try to coast until you can find a safe place to stop.
The Next Steps:
After you’ve stopped somewhere safe, pull the remote hood release and get out of the car, but don’t touch anything yet! It can take up to half an hour for the engine compartment to cool down enough to touch. This is your chance to call roadside assistance or a tow truck. In the meantime, see if you can spot coolant dripping or leaking from under the car.
Once the engine has cooled off enough to touch, you can check the coolant level and add more coolant and water if the level is low. If your car isn’t low on coolant, you’re probably dealing with a different electrical or mechanical problem, like a broken thermostat. Either way, head over to the service center ASAP to get the problem checked out!