My Car is Overheated: What to do Next
An overheated engine can be scary, especially for an inexperienced driver or someone who has never dealt with an overheated car before. While it is true this unfortunate event can be mostly avoided by taking proper care and maintenance of your vehicle, it is best to be prepared in case it does occur. Our professional Phoenix mechanics at Scottsdale Muffler have compiled a list of basic steps to take for when your engine overheats.
Of course, you almost always have the option to call a tow truck right away if you do not feel confident, but you can save yourself extra expense if you have the basic knowledge to troubleshoot the problem. Car troubles tend to occur right when you are out of cell service or in the middle of nowhere with no Phoenix repair shop nearby, so it is in your best interest to be able to troubleshoot your overheated engine.
The most important thing to remember is that when your engine overheats, quickly find a safe spot on the side of the road and pull over.
1. Pull over as soon as you safely can. If you continue driving after the warning flashes, extensive engine damage will occur. You also run the risk of your car completely failing to work while you are still in the middle of the road, creating a dangerous situation for you, any passengers, and oncoming drivers.
2. Do not open the hood of your vehicle until it is cooled off completely. This is for your safety, as you can easily get severe burns from touching any part of the engine or hood that is still hot. Remember, the coolant is not running correctly through the engine to help keep it cool, so everything will be much warmer than usual.
3. The next step is to check the level of coolant in the reservoir. If you are uncertain how to do this, refer to your owner’s manual. The instructions will walk you through checking the coolant level step by step. If the level is low, you will need to add more.
4. If so, you will need to remove the cap of the radiator in order to add more coolant. Again, remember that it could be very hot to the touch. The cap should also be opened slowly to avoid bursting off into your face if it is still hot inside the radiator. Your best option is to use a towel to slowly twist off the cap, to protect your fingers from any burns. Make sure you replace the cap tightly once you have refilled the coolant.
5. It is also a good idea to double check the connections on the radiator hoses. Most vehicles have an upper hose and a lower hose, and sometimes they can be split, disconnected, or clogged. If they appear to be in good condition and you have refilled the coolant, you can safely restart your engine and should be good to go. However, if the hoses appear to be in rough shape, call a Phoenix car repair shop to determine your next steps.
6. Once you have started driving again, keep a close eye on your temperature gauge. If it starts to heat up again, safely pull over and repeat the above steps. If you are certain you have done everything necessary, and the car is still overheating, you will need to call a tow truck and have your car seen by a Phoenix car mechanic as soon as possible.
7. Lastly, remember that it is always better to be prepared. Keep a small crate in your trunk filled with necessities including a towel, some rags, engine oil, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant. It is also wise to have a few snacks, bottles of water, a blanket, and a flashlight with extra batteries. This way you will be armed and ready when your car breaks down.
Remember that prevention is the best medicine. If you do not have the time, hire a trustworthy mechanic to do regular Phoenix car maintenance on your vehicle. The experienced mechanics at Scottsdale Muffler want to keep you safe in any situation involving a car breakdown. We do everything from fixing engines to tune-ups and repairs of all kinds, plus our affordable prices and free estimates make us a top-rated choice for you. If you have trouble with an overheated engine or any other issues, call us today to determine your next steps!
Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive
1710 E Curry Rd
Tempe, AZ 85281
Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.