How to deal with an overheating engine


Overheating can kill your beloved car's engine terribly. Come here for simple tips to save your car!

Overheating may become an absolute killer in terms of the vehicle engine if being taken lightly. Therefore, if you notice any sign of overheating, such as a flash of engine overheat warning light on the dashboard, be wary and take action immediately to prevent your car from breaking down. Otherwise, major internal components may be severely damaged, and you will have to bear exorbitant costs to rebuild your engine.

In the next part, we’ll list 8 steps that you need to follow to save your engine from overheating.

1. Turn off the air conditioner

Though the air conditioner cools down the air inside the car, it actually heats up the engine in return. Running the AC conditioner means that the AC compressor adds a rotational load to the engine, which then compels the driver to increase its effort and generate more heat. That's why when your temperature gauge reaches to the red zone, shutting down the air conditioner immediately will be a wise choice to reduce the pressure put on your vehicle system.

2. Switch on the heater and open the window

Let the heater and the fan run at full blast. The idea may sound crazy and ridiculous to you, especially when it is the summer. However, activating the heater actually helps you disperse the heat building up in your engine. This works because the heater and fan use the engine heat as fuel to warm air inside your car, which then decreases the engine heat significantly and lets the engine cool down. But remember that when doing this in the summer, it is better to open your windows.

A man and a woman open the windows while driving.

Remember to open your windows when turning on the heater.

3. Pull over as soon as possible

When you notice the engine starts overheating, try to stop your car as soon as you can. Especially, if you see any steam or smoke rising from the hood, stop immediately and get out of the car because it may be an early sign of coming fire, which can threaten your life.

Let the car idle with the cabin heat and fan speed work at full blast. Also, leave the key in the starter switch in the ignition position, which keeps the electronic systems in “on” mode without starting the engine. This will help accelerate the cooling process and support air circulation through the hot engine.

Wait until the steam stops and the hood cools to open the hood. This will help the heat disperse out of the engine faster. However, if you observe any sign of fire, call 112 or 199 for help and get away from the car quickly.


Pull over the quickest you can to avoid fire that might be raging up from the hood

4. Remove the radiator cap when it is COOL

Remember that NEVER open the radiator cap when the engine is still hot. Otherwise, the release of steam and radiator fluid with very high pressure can cause severe liquid burns.

However, even when the system is cooled down, you should open the cap with utmost cautious. Use a thick tower to remove the lid. NEVER put your face near the radiator to look inside, or else, the potential blast of hot steam may hurt you.

Also, NEVER add coolant or water to the expansion tank when it is hot. The sudden change in temperature due to the cold engine coolant may cause the radiator to crack, which leads to much more serious issues and costly repairs.

5. Check the coolant reservoir when the engine is cool and top it up if necessary

Again, remember to open the coolant reservoir only when your car is cool enough. Check the coolant level to see if the level lies within the safety zone. If you notice the level is too low, refill the reservoir and you may keep driving.

Head gaskets with leaking coolant

If you notice any sign of leaking coolant, don’t keep driving and wait for a tow truck.

However, if the deficient coolant is caused by leaks from blown head gasket or damaged cylinder head, don't try to run your car. Instead, call a tow truck for help, or else, your engine will bear more severe and costly damage.

6. Determine whether to keep driving or call for a tow truck

In case you can’t identify and solve the problem and help is readily available, it is better to call a tow truck for help.

However, if you must continue driving, then proceed to the next part.

7. Rev the engine in park or neutral

If you are in traffic and stop moving for more than one minute, then put your car in neutral or park so that no power flows from the engine to the wheels, which then saves you a lot of fuel. Then, let the engine run quickly. By doing this, the radiator fan and the water pump can work faster, which allows more coolant to circulate within the system and helps it cool down.

8. Drive the car at a slow and steady pace

When there are many cars down the road, it is better to keep your vehicle run slowly. Otherwise, you may have to use the brakes many times, which then put extra load on the engine, making its temperature increase.

What to Do If Your Engine Overheats