One of the scariest things for any driver is an engine overheating in the middle of nowhere or somewhere you just do not feel safe. Unfortunately, this is a common situation. But it is one you can avoid with proper maintenance and the knowledge of what to do when this happens to you. Below, the auto mechanic experts of Cloverdale Auto give some advice and answers to that question of, “Why is my car engine overheating?”
Why is My Car Engine Running Hot?
Car engine overheating occurs for many reasons. Usually, it means something has gone wrong with your cooling system. That system is supposed to help heat leave the engine compartment. Often, the cause is a cooling system leak, broken water pump, clogged coolant hose or faulty radiator fan.
Regardless of why it is happening, you should not ignore your car engine overheating. If you do, your engine can suffer permanent damage.
Signs of a Car Engine Overheating
You can avoid the risk of permanent engine damage by taking steps to cool your engine before it overheats. But this means you must know the signs of overheating, first. These signs include:
- Steam coming from beneath your car hood
- A spiking engine temperature gauge on your dash panel
- Strange, sweet-smelling odor coming from your engine
When you see these signs, take your vehicle to your trusted auto repair shop in Winston-Salem, NC, Cloverdale Auto. First, take the appropriate measures, below, to ensure the situation cools down.
What to Do When You Notice Your Car Engine Overheating
When you notice your car engine overheating, take the following steps:
1. Turn off the A/C and turn on the heater.
This may sound counterintuitive. But you should immediately turn off the air conditioning in your overheating car and turn on the heat.
Doing so takes the strain of A/C off your engine and pulls heat away from it, into the passenger compartment. This gives you time before it fully overheats, so you can pull the vehicle into a safe location. Although you will feel uncomfortable with the heater on, this is much easier than having to pay a big repair bill.
2. Pull over into a safe place.
When you pull your car over into a safe place, turn it off. Let the engine cool down for a minimum of 15 minutes. While doing so, watch the temperature gauge to ensure it moves to a normal temperature range.
As you wait for your engine to cool, call a tow truck, roadside assistance or a friend for help. You will need your vehicle towed to Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, so our trusted auto mechanics can find and fix the problem.
3. Check the coolant and add more, if you have some with you.
If your coolant level reads as low, add some more fluid to protect your engine. This will prevent your car engine overheating until you can get the vehicle to Cloverdale Auto. But this will not work if your coolant hose is clogged or your car has a broken radiator fan or faulty water pump. If you need to find your coolant reservoir tank, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
4. Restart your engine.
If pulling over prevented your car engine overheating and you have taken the appropriate steps above, you may not need a tow. Carefully restart your engine and drive it to Cloverdale Auto in Winston Salem. Closely watch the temperature gauge to ensure it does not go into the red zone again. If it starts rising, pull over and let your engine cool.
DO NOT Do These Things for Car Engine Overheating
There are several key things to avoid when you notice your car engine overheating.
1. Don’t panic.
Never speed up or swerve through traffic when you notice your car engine overheating. You should also avoid slamming on your brakes.
2. Don’t keep going.
If you notice your car engine overheating but keep the motor running, you are not doing it any good. Trying to reach your destination can only make the damage much worse. Use your phone to call your destination and tell them you will be a little late.
3. Don’t immediately open your hood.
Seeing the steam rising from under your hood may urge you to open it. Instead, allow the engine to cool before taking a look. Otherwise, you can suffer steam burns or other injuries. Wait until the engine temperature gauge reads normal before opening the hood.
4. Don’t keep driving your vehicle without getting it checked out.
Car engine overheating occurs because a problem exists. This problem will not go away without the help of a skilled auto mechanic. It will only get worse. Drive your vehicle or have it towed to Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem for a quick diagnosis and repair estimate.
How to Prevent Your Car Engine Overheating
To prevent your car engine overheating, have routine maintenance performed on your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This maintenance includes having regular coolant flushes and exchanges performed by certified auto mechanics. Also keep up with radiator maintenance and routine inspections to find these problems before they get worse.
Have routine radiator maintenance, coolant flush and fluid exchange performed at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, NC now. Schedule your visit to avoid being stranded on the side of the road. Call us at 336-331-3448 for an appointment.