Engine overheating? Most Common Signs and what you should do
There are many reasons for engine overheating. In general, it’s because something’s wrong within the cooling system and heat isn’t able to escape the engine compartment.
The source of the issue could include a cooling system leak, faulty radiator fan, broken water pump, or clogged coolant hose.
Regardless of the problem’s source, an overheating engine isn’t something you want to let linger.
Your engine could sustain serious, if not permanent, damage.
Here are some signs to look for when you think your vehicle is overheating:
- Steam (which can look like smoke) coming from under the car hood.
- An engine temperature gauge on your dashboard that spikes to “H” or into the red. (Engine temperature gauge symbols vary, so consult your owner’s manual.)
- A strange smell coming from the engine area. For example, leaking coolant can smell sweet while leaking oil might smell more burnt.
What you should do in case of your vehicle overheating:
- Turn off the air conditioner to reduce stress on the engine. Then, turn the dial to maximum heat. This can help pull heat away from the engine to keep it from overheating until you can pull over in a safe location. You may get a little hot yourself, but a few minutes of discomfort is a small price to pay compared to major .
- Find a safe place to pull over– Pull over and shut off the car. Allow the engine to cool for at least 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge, as it should move back to a normal range as the engine cools.
- Check and add coolant ( If you don’t have coolant normal water can also be added )– If your coolant level is low, a quick top-off could help protect your engine and prevent overheating until you can get things fixed. However, this step won’t do much good if a coolant hose is clogged or the source of your troubles is a broken radiator fan or water pump.
- Restart your engine– If your car isn’t being towed, now’s the time to carefully restart your engine and drive to your . Keep an eye on the temperature gauge as you drive. If it rises again, pull over and let the system cool. However, it is not advisable to drive a car when it has overheating problems.
What shouldn’t you do when engine overheating:
- Don’t keep driving– If your engine is overheating but still running, you’re not doing it any favours by staying on the road. Sure, you may be able to get to your destination before it gives out entirely, but you may cause significant (and costly) damage by pushing your engine too far.
- Don’t open the hood immediately- Once you’ve pulled over, wait for the engine to cool before popping the hood to check things out. Opening the hood immediately can put you at risk of burns or injuries from spewing steam or smoke.
- Don’t let the issue linger- An overheating engine won’t resolve on its own, even if it seems to be fixed after you add a little coolant. It will only get worse if left unaddressed. Get your vehicle to a workshop so that they can get to the root of the issue to help save your engine.
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