VIDEO: What to Do If Your Engine Overheats

The Washington D.C. area continued its heat wave over the weekend, with temperatures topping 90 degrees for the fourth straight day on Sunday, June 14. On the other side of the nation, Phoenix is expected to reach a high of 108 degrees on Monday, June 15. Higher temperatures can increase the risk for engine overheating, so now is a good time to review what steps a driver can take to respond to this problem.

The Florida Department of Transportation recommends that if your vehicle engine overheats, you don’t drive more than a quarter mile farther. You should have the vehicle towed to avoid further damage to the engine.

But what if no experienced mechanic or tow truck is nearby? Or what if you don’t have phone coverage when trouble arises? Then, FDOT advises, a driver may opt to follow these simple steps:

  • Pull over to a safe location and turn off the engine.
  • Don’t open the hood until the vehicle has completely cooled or the temperature gauge has moved from hot to cool.
  • Check the coolant (also called antifreeze) level in the radiator. Look in the owner’s manual if you’re unsure where the coolant reservoir tank is located.
  • 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. Put the radiator cap back on.
  • Be sure the upper or lower radiator hose and any of the heater hoses have not been blocked, disconnected or burst.
  • Restart the engine.
  • Carefully monitor the temperature gauge. If you see it crossing the optimal mark, pull over to a safe location and turn the engine off.
  • While your best bet is to get help from a mechanic, your safest bet is to be prepared. Store these essential items in your car or truck: coolant, tool kit, working flashlight, non-perishable foods and water.

To watch an Esurance video on the subject of engine overheating, click on the illustration or link below the headline. 

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet