50th Year Anniversary

What to Do When Your Engine Starts Overheating

Today, most vehicles have modernized cooling systems equipped with multiple heat sensors and electric fans designed to keep your engine running smoothly. However, the reality is overheating can still occur. If you notice smoke-like vapor emitting from the hood or your temperature gauge spiking to the big "H," then you are experiencing an overheating engine. In instances like these, do NOT panic whatsoever. Instead, do the following to keep yourself safe and prevent further damage to your motor: 


1) Turn On The Heater

It might seem a little odd, but turning on your heater can help when your vehicle is overheating. Blasting the heat draws warm air away from the engine and into the cabin, lessening the strain on the engine's cooling system. In certain circumstances, this step may be enough to reverse the overheating. You'll know if this method works if the warning light goes off or the temperature gauge returns to its regular position.


2) Pull Over

If your warning light is still lit after you've been cruising with the heater on, pull over and turn off your car. Turning the engine off is the safest and reliable way to cool the engine. Take this time to call for roadside assistance and let your loved ones know of your whereabouts.


3) Be Calm

If you don't have access to roadside assistance, be patient. It will take at least 15 minutes for the engine to cool off. It is highly recommended that you not attempt to open the hood. Once the hood is open, there's a risk of you being exposed to boiling water or steam. At times like this, your safety should be the top priority.


4) Add Coolant (If You Have Any on Hand)

After you've waited for at least 15 minutes and the hood is cool to the touch, it's time to add the coolant. To do this, you need to find the radiator cap under the hood. Please utilize a towel, rag, or gloves when turning the lid to avoid burns. You will want to release the pressure that has been built up as a result of the coolant expanding when heated. You should proceed to pour the coolant. If the temperature gauge returns to its normal position or the red warning light goes out, you can drive with caution while keeping an eye on any abrupt changes.


If you require an engine repair or any other repair/maintenance services, bring your car to Ripley's Total Car Care. Give us a call or visit one of our shops today!

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