If your car overheats while you are driving, don’t panic. While you will want to get it to a repair shop as soon as possible, especially if it happens repeatedly, there are a few things you can do to cool your car down.
If the engine overheating light is on or your temperature gauge shows the car is getting hotter, you should turn off your air-conditioning and possibly turn the heat up. This works because the AC system puts stress on your engine and the heating system will take some of the heat away from the engine. It’s not going to be fun in the summer, but taking these steps could prevent you from needing a costly engine replacement.
In the unfortunate case none of the above works, immediately pull over once you get to a safe location. Once the engine cools down, open the hood. Be careful though. If you see smoke, it could take the engine at least 30 minutes to cool down to a point where it’s safe to go near.
After the engine has cooled, you will want to take a look at the coolant tank, which is a translucent plastic tank found close to the radiator. Under normal circumstances the coolant tank would have liquid in it, but it may not in this case. If you do find that the coolant tank is empty, check for a puddle under your car. A puddle may mean that the coolant tank is leaking. If this is the case, then you should call a tow truck to get your vehicle to an auto-repair shop.
If the coolant appears to be running low and isn’t leaking, you could refill it with a mixture of water and coolant. This is why people with vehicles prone to over-heating should always have an extra bottle of coolant and a large bottle of water in their trunk. Combine the coolant and water if necessary. Keep in mind that a radiator should always have more coolant than water. This should help you get to a repair shop.
If none of these fixes work then it’s most likely an electrical or mechanical problem, which is best left for a shop to diagnose. Call a tow truck to get you to Quality Lube Plus and we’ll help you get back on the road as soon as possible.