What to Do If Your Car Overheats

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Most cars today have high-level cooling systems and multiple sensors (with electronic fans) to keep them running efficiently in all weather. Despite these sophisticated controls, overheating can still happen. From gasket leaks to stop-and-go traffic on a sweltering day, several circumstances can make systems fail.With regular maintenance, these issues can be avoided, but if your car does overheat, here are a few steps to take to mitigate damage and stay safe.

Have a Safety Kit in the Car

To begin, being prepared for situations like this helps, and that means having a bag on hand with certain items, like a few quarts of oil, a towel, heavy-duty gloves, a basic tool kit, and a gallon of coolant. Many of these will come into play for the next steps.

Pull Over

It helps to be cautious and pull over to a safe place, and resting the engine starts the cooling process. It’s also a good idea to call for road assistance for additional help.

Turn the Heat On

Ironic as it sounds, starting the heater draws heat away from the engine. In some cases, this step might be all it takes to get the car’s systems back in check.

Have Patience

If roadside assistance is too expensive or delayed, try waiting at least 15 minutes for the engine to rebalance. And whatever you do, keep the hood closed. Remember, it’s hot under there. Not to mention, you could get sprayed with steam or hot water.

Add Coolant

After waiting for the car to cool, touch the hood to test its temperature. When it feels tepid, use gloves to open it and find the radiator cap (the owner’s manual can help if you need it). Using a towel, cover the cap and push down slightly before turning it and releasing pressure (built up due to coolant expansion). After removing the cap, add coolant until it reaches the “full” line. It helps to also add coolant to the plastic overflow reservoir on the side of the radiator. After this step, put the cap back on and turn on the engine. As long as the temperature gauge reads normal (or the warning light goes off), you should be good to go. However, proceed with caution.

Head to a Service Station

Although adding coolant helps, it does not address the underlying issue that caused the engine to overheat. For that, a professional should inspect the vehicle’s cooling system.

For all your vehicle’s maintenance and repair needs, call MMW Repair at 770-214-4688 and schedule an appointment today!

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