Cars are complicated pieces of machinery that must be taken care of in order to function properly. Even with proper care and maintenance, they’ll have problems from time to time.
A common problem cars face is overheating. It’s easy for a car to overheat, and it’s imperative to watch out for the signs of overheating and take proper action immediately to avoid a disaster.
Causes Of Overheating
In order to prevent your car from overheating, it’s important to understand what causes cars to overheat. When a car runs low on the coolant that stabilize the engine’s temperature, it can overheat. Similarly, if there isn’t enough oil for lubrication, the engine may overheat from this as well.
It is necessary to always make sure the car isn’t running low on coolant. Furthermore, regular maintenance and oil changes are vital to helping a car avoid overheating.
Signs A Car Is Overheating
The signs a car is overheating can vary; they can be very obvious signs like smoke billowing out from under the hood of the car, or they can be more subtle.
One of the first signs of overheating is when the car’s temperature gauge starts to point towards the “hot” end of the spectrum. Another sign that may pop up, depending on the car, is a warning light showing a thermometer or something similar.
Steam or smoke is a definite sign your car is overheating, but it is important to take note of the fact that the car can overheat even if there is no visible steam or smoke.
There are a couple of different odors a car will give off when it overheats. If you smell a slightly sweet type of odor coming from the car, it could be the coolant having trouble and causing the car to overheat. On the other hand, if it smells like something is burning, this could be a sign the car is overheating because of an oil problem.
What To Do If Your Car Is Overheating
First and foremost, you need to pull over and stop driving. Operating a vehicle that is overheating can be very dangerous to you and others on the road. If there is no way to pull over immediately, run the heater in the car to temporarily cool the engine.
If you are stuck in traffic, make sure not to continuously drive up a few feet and then brake hard. Instead, drive very slowly so that the breaks don’t have to be applied as hard.
When you’ve gotten to the side of the road, wait until the engine has cooled down considerably, and then open the hood of the car to let any excess heat or smoke release itself. Do not open the radiator cap under any circumstances because it could burn you.
If the temperature gauge says the engine is cooled completely, then you can add the necessary coolant to help the engine. Check under the hood of the car thoroughly to make sure there aren’t any busted hoses or leaks.
If the car will not cool down or has a leak, you need to call to get the vehicle taken to a repair shop. Driving an overheated vehicle can severely damage the car and cause you to pay for some very expensive repairs.
A car that overheats must be handled carefully; it needs to be repaired for the safety of the car and for the protection of its passengers.
This article was written by Karl Stockton for the team at Kanetix; learn more about auto insurance at Kanetix.