5 Important To-Do’s When your Car Overheats

Great. Just great. You’re having a really nice day, going for a drive – and your car decides that now, of all times, it’s going to overheat. Great. Just great.

Signs your cooling system is in trouble:

  1. Turn off your air conditioning and see if the temperature goes down. You can also turn on your heater to move heat away from your engine. If neither of these steps help, pull over.
  2. Look for Steam. If you’re driving and you see even the slightest bit of steam coming from under your hood, pull over quickly and turn off your car engine. And we mean OFF. Not idling.
  3. Lift the hood. Look out! It could be hot under that hood, so your best bet is to let the car sit, turned OFF, so it can cool down a bit before you decide to lift the hood.
  4. Check your coolant level. If your coolant level in the reservoir is normal it’s an indication you probably have a problem with your temperature gauge. If your coolant level is lower than it should be or worse, empty, you probably have a leak and need to call for some roadside assistance at this point.

Can’t wait for roadside help? If you’ve got coolant with you and you do see the coolant level is low, and you are sure the engine is safe and cool to touch, fill both the reservoir and the radiator with coolant. If you drive along and it happens again, pull over and again, let things cool down and refill them again. Once you’re able to get to a garage or back home where you can work on it, don’t put off getting a full check-up done on your coolant system.