What to Do if Your Engine Starts to Overheat | OkCarz

Close up of a temperature gauge in a car spiking to the red

Reasons Why Your Engine Could Be Overheating

The engine is the heart of every vehicle. Your vehicle can’t run without this piece of machinery and replacing or repairing it is very expensive. Therefore, an overheating engine should always be taken very seriously. While this issue shouldn’t happen at all, there are many things that could cause an engine to overheat. You also need to be prepared to know what to do if your engine starts to overheat in order to prevent any further damage.

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Signs of an Overheating Engine

Sometimes, knowing your engine is overheating is obvious. Other times, not so much. Here are a few signs you should watch for:

  • The temperature gauge entering the red or spiking at “H”
  • Steam coming from underneath the hood
  • An odd smell coming from your engine

What You Should Do if Your Engine Overheats While Driving

Girl checking her overheating engine

Whether you are driving on the highway or you are simply five minutes from home, every minute matters. As soon as you realize that your engine is overheating, do the following:

  1. Turn off the A/C and crank the heat. This will be uncomfortable for you, but this will pull some of the heat away from your engine.
  2. Pull over to a safe location.
  3. Turn off the engine and let the engine cool for at least 15 minutes.
  4. While you wait, get help on the way. Call a towing company, family member, or close friend to let them know of the situation and to come help you.

If this ever happens to you, the most important thing to remember is that you should not panic. With that said, you should never drive while the engine is overheating as this can cause damage and even complete engine failure. Always allow the engine to cool before opening the hood, as this will help protect you from getting burned due to the steam or heat. Finally, never let this problem linger as the issue will only get worse.

Things That Can Cause an Engine to Overheat

Close up of coolant being poured into the reservoir

Sometimes, the issue can be resolved by simply topping off some fluids. In other cases, parts need to be replaced in order to prevent the issue from happening again. Here’s a list of common things that can cause an engine to overheat.

  • Low coolant levels
  • Leaking hoses or coolant reservoir
  • Malfunctioning or stuck thermostat
  • Low oil level

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