What to do When Your Engine Overheats

Cars often overheat in very hot weather. Although it’s rare with modern vehicles, it is still possible for them to overheat. If you find yourself in stop-and-go traffic or climbing a steep grade and steam begins to appear from your bonnet, your journey can all of a sudden become very stressful. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure that you get your car back safely to us at The Bodyshop.
1. Firstly, We recommend that you always carry an extra bottle of coolant, also known as anti- freeze, or water in your car. Engines typically overheat when the coolant is low, so topping it up could solve the problem. Failing that, water will also temporarily do the trick. Plus, if it is a hot day, that water could prove to be a lifesaver and help you re-hydrate. Just don’t drink all of it.

2. When you see the temperature gauge creeping into the red, this means your engine is beginning to overheat. If this is the case, immediately turn off your air conditioning, since this puts a lot of strain on your engine and roll down the windows to cool yourself– the way nature intended.
3. Of course, there is also the chance that you haven’t got your air conditioning on and your temperature gauge is still creeping into the red. Should this be the case, pull over as soon as possible. If you are on the motorway stop in a safe place, put your hazard lights on and walk away from the car. If it is possible for you to do so, pop open your bonnet from the driver’s seat. Otherwise don’t risk opening it by hand until the engine has cooled, especially if you can see steam wafting from your engine. Typically, it takes at least 30 minutes for an engine to cool down enough for it to be safe to handle, without burning yourself.
4. Once your engine has cooled, check the coolant tank. It’s usually the translucent plastic tank near the radiator. On the coolant tank there are two markings, a minimum and maximum. If the coolant levels are below the lowest mark and the tank is empty or you may have a leak. Take a quick look under your car. If you notice a puddle, chances are the coolant tank is leaking.
If you do have seepage, carefully open the radiator cap. Place a cloth over it to protect your hand, and tilt the cap away from you as you open it. Then, refill the cooled radiator with your spare coolant or water. We recommend that you do not pour cold water into a radiator that is still hot as this could cause the engine block to crack due to the sudden change in temperature. If you absolutely have to add water whilst your engine is still warm pour it slowly whilst your engine is running in neutral.
If the coolant tank is full, the issue may be electrical or mechanical, in which case I would tow your car down to us at the Bodyshop to look over it for you. The issue may be a leaking hose, worn or broken fan belt, bad water pump or malfunctioning thermostat. It is best that we double check and ensure your car is safe to drive.
To get in touch with us at the Bodyshop, call us on 020 8500 9228 or click here.

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