Your Car Is Overheating! What Do You Do?!
You’re driving down the road and you start to notice a little white smoke escaping from under the hood or maybe a burning smell coming from your AC and you have to pull over. It’s a tragedy, the family vacation in peril, but what do you next?! Make sure that you know what to do and what not to do when your car engine overheats.
Our AAMCO Bay Area mechanics can perform an Initial Vehicle Check & Diagnostic to check your car’s cooling systems including your radiator and engine. After assessing any issues, our mechanics have the expertise to fix any issues with your vehicle and get you back out on the road in no time.
Related: Signs It’s Time For an Auto Tune-Up
Related: Is Your Car’s AC System Performing
Car overheating? Don’t Panic!
AAMCO Bay Area’s expert mechanics have you covered. Bring your vehicle in today!
We can perform an initial vehicle check to diagnose any issues your car’s cooling system may be experiencing and fix them right the first time.
Why Is My Engine Overheating?
Before we can go over how to deal with engine overheating problems, we should first explore why your engine might be overheating in the first place. Typically, higher temperatures in the engine are caused by some issue with the cooling system, trapped the heat in the engine compartment instead of letting it escape. The source of the issue could include a cooling system leak, faulty radiator fan, broken water pump, or clogged coolant hose. Either way, an overheating engine isn’t something you want to let linger. Your engine could sustain serious, if not permanent and expensive, damage.
How Do I Know If My Engine Is Overheating?
Your best bet to deal with permanent damage from your engine overheating is to know the signs and to lower the temperature before it happens. Prevention if better than the cure, especially in this situation. Here are some symptoms of an overheating engine:
- White smoke, steam actually, billowing out from under the hood of your vehicle.
- If your vehicle has a temperature gauge on the dashboard and it spikes into the red or to “H” then that is a sure sign that your vehicle too hot.
- If you smell a strange sweet or burning smell coming from the engine area, possibly caused by leaking coolant or oil respectively.
If you notice any of these symptoms, either pull over and stop your vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so or bring your vehicle in to the nearest AAMCO repair shop. Call your local AAMCO service center for towing options available.
My Engine Is Overheating, What Do I Do?
1. Turn off the air conditioning and turn up the heat.
As soon as you notice your car overheating, turn off the air conditioning to lower the stress on your engine. Crank your heater to maximum to help disperse the heat away from your engine to help is stay a little cooler until you can pull over. This may feel uncomfortable for a moment but discomfort is better than expensive engine repairs.
2. Pull over when its safe to do so.
You need to shut off your car as soon as possible. Pull over when it’s safe to do for and let the engine cool off for at least 15 minutes, watching the temperature gauge. While you’re waiting, it’s a good idea to plan how to deal with your overheated engine. This type of car problem doesn’t just go away and often means that there’s something wrong with your vehicle. Call a tow truck or contact your local AAMCO Bay Area service center for roadside assistance options.
3. Check coolant levels and add more (if available).
If you notice that your coolant levels are low or leaking, a quick top-off could potentially help protect your engine long enough to get it fixed. This will not be much help if a coolant hose is blocked or your vehicle has a broken radiator fan or water pump. Check our owner’s manual to find the coolant reservoir tank and how to add coolant to your vehicle. If you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself, your local AAMCO Bay Area service center can assist you!
4. Turn your engine back on.
Not getting your vehicle towed? Now that your vehicle has cooled down, carefully restart your engine and drive to your local AAMCO Bay Area service center while monitoring your temperature gauge. If it rises again, pull over and let the system cool.
The “Don’ts” When Your Engine Overheats
1. DON’T panic.
You might get a little stressed out when you notice your car starting to overheat, however, it’s important to calmly and safely pull over and turn off your vehicle.
2. DON’T keep driving.
The longer you keep your engine running while it’s overheating, the more significant and permanent the damage will be by the time you get to your destination. Even if you do make it there, you may be causing damage to your vehicle that you will regret.
3. DON’T open the hood immediately.
Wait for the engine to cool significantly before you try opening the hood. The stream or smoke billowing out from your vehicle may burn or injure you, stay patient. Let the temperature gauge show the vehicle is cool before you check under the hood.
4. DON’T ignore the issue.
An overheating engine won’t resolve on its own, even if it seems to be fixed after you add a little coolant. It will only get worse if left unaddressed. Get to the root of the issue to help save your engine. Bring your car to AAMCO Bay Area for an initial vehicle check so we can accurately diagnose the problem and get your vehicle back on the road safely.
How Can I Prevent My Car From Overheating?
Take care of your vehicle so that it will take care of you. Keep up to date with regular maintenance such as coolant flushes and exchanges and radiator maintenance. Routine inspections can also help spot any growing problems in your radiator or engine before they start causing your vehicle to overheat.
Keep your car and your head cool this summer; bring your vehicle in to your nearest AAMCO Bay Area service center for the best car repair and maintenance technicians in the nation. When it comes to auto repair, you can trust our expert total car care mechanics to get your vehicle diagnosed and fixed right the first time. Schedule an appointment online today!