Ever experienced having your car overheat all of a sudden? It’s a horror story especially for you who has basically no idea what happens under the hood. Don’t panic! Once you’re done reading this, you’ll surely become more confident on what to do. Share this to a friend who also has no idea what to do if a car overheats.
Why do cars overheat in the first place? How can it be prevented? Cars overheat most often in very hot weather. It rarely happens to modern vehicles, but even a well-tuned automobile can overheat too. This happens especially if you’re stuck in heavy traffic or climbing a steep hill on an extremely hot day. As a preventive measure, always check the temperature gauge and store bottles of water and coolant in your car. Here’s how to help your vehicle regain its cool:
At the first sign of overheating, pull over to a safe location and turn off the engine. Also, shut off your air conditioner and roll down the windows. By doing this, the load on the engine will be reduced and it can also cool off a little bit. Another option is to turn on the heater and blower, which will transfer the heat from the engine to the inside of the car. If however, you’re stopped in traffic, shift your gear into Neutral or Park. Doing so promotes air and liquid circulation which will help cool things off too. Try not to step on the brakes as much as possible and instead, crawl along slowly. Braking generates a lot of friction, which will only turn up the heat.
Next, step outside and proceed to the hood. REMEMBER: Do not open the hood until the car has completely cooled or the temperature gauge has moved from hot to cool. You’ll get a feel of the heat yourself once you’ve pulled the hood release and the hood is slightly ajar. If the heat strikes you as potentially dangerous then let the engine cool down before proceeding.
Then, check the coolant (also called antifreeze) level in the radiator. Read the owner’s manual if you do not know where the coolant reservoir tank is. Make sure the radiator cap is cool before opening it. Slowly twist it off with a towel and beware of any hot steam. If needed, fill coolant to the top of the radiator and put the radiator cap back on. Shut the hood and restart the engine. From there, you just carefully monitor the temperature gauge. If you see it crossing the optimal mark again, pull over to a safe location and turn the engine off.
Always be prepared. Store these essential items in you car: Coolant, tool kit, working flashlight, non-perishable foods and water.