It’s no surprise that a hot day brings the greatest risk of your car overheating. Driving without adequate engine coolant could seriously damage the internal components of your engine, and that damage can come quickly. To avoid needing extensive auto repairs, follow these steps if you see your temperature gauge climbing dramatically in the heat.
What to Do When Your Car Overheats
1. Turn Your A/C Off
Alabama in the summer practically guarantees some excruciatingly hot days. While you may be comfortable driving with the air conditioner set to max, your vehicle makes sacrifices to keep you cool—its engine gets hotter when it powers the fans that keep your interior nice and cold. When you start to notice your temperature gauge is reaching the red zone or your dashboard warning lights are on, it's your car telling you there’s something wrong with the engine. Turn off your A/C immediately to lessen the strain on your motor.
2. Turn the Heater On
You probably don’t want to blast the heat in the middle of a hot day, but it will help your engine cool down. Dialing the heater to the maximum will help transfer any heat away from underneath the hood and into the cabin. Turn on your heater and blower if you suspect a problem with your engine overheating, but if this has no immediate effect, continue to the next step.
3. Pull Over
Find a safe spot on the road to pull over and turn off your automobile. Your engine will be extremely hot to touch during this time, so wait for the car to cool before attempting to pop the hood. This should take about 10 minutes, but be careful no matter what.
4. Check Your Coolant
Once your engine has cooled, unscrew the radiator cap and look to see if there’s fluid below the fill line. The coolant is what keeps your motor from overheating. If you don't see any liquid, it means you're low and need a filling. If you haven’t been proactive by keeping a bottle in your trunk, get a ride to your nearest auto repair shop or retail store. Water is also a good temporary solution if it's an emergency.
5. Seek Auto Repair
While the tips above are quick fixes, nothing will work as well as taking your car to the pros. An experienced technician will check your engine for possible issues with the cooling system and engine, such as coolant leaks, circulation problems, or any hoses that need replacing. They’ll pinpoint the problem and get you back on the road, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars of engine work.
With these steps in mind, you could save your car from overheating this summer. The auto repair experts at Foley Auto & RV Repair in Baldwin County, AL, have been keeping drivers safe on the road for over 20 years. As an ASE®-certified facility, they handle all aspects of auto maintenance, including radiator repair, car computer diagnostics, and auto tuneups. Visit their website to learn about their services or call (251) 971-3770 to schedule a vehicle inspection today.