What To Do If Your Car Overheats
Your temperature gauge has been climbing and climbing, and now you’re stuck with a possibly overheating engine because heat isn’t able to escape the engine compartment. Now what? Your next steps are important!
If you continue driving with an overheating engine, you could do some serious damage to other components of your car. After you are safely pulled over, turn the vehicle off. If your vehicle offers roadside assistance, call as soon as possible!
Turn off your A/C and crank the heat!
This sounds like a joke, but it’s not! Your air conditioner will stress out your engine even more, so by turning on your car’s heating component, you can draw warmth away from your car’s engine and into the passenger cabin. Sometimes, this can be enough to cool down your engine.
Check your coolant levels.
After waiting at least 15 minutes after the vehicle has been turned off, check your coolant level. Cover the radiator cap with a towel or shirt (never touch it with a bare hand!) and push down and loosen it slightly while the pressure releases (coolant expands when heated). If your vehicle is low on coolant and you have some on hand, slowly add it, filling to the fill line.
Get a tow or drive to a service station.
Depending on whether your car cools off enough to drive, you will need to make the decision if it is safe to drive to the nearest service station or if your car requires a tow. If your car is still steaming or if temperatures begin to climb again once you resume driving, pull over immediately!