What To Do If Your Car Overheats

vanFew things can equal the dread you feel when you are sitting at a stoplight and you notice that your car is beginning to overheat. You glance back and forth from the light to the temperature gauge just waiting for the chance to get rolling so that the breeze can drop the temperature or at least keep it from rising. You probably know the consequences of an overheated engine. It could stop running while you are in a traffic jam, or it might catch on fire. Sometimes, the radiator cap blows off from the pressure. If you hear a loud pop and then notice steam coming out from under the hood, you need to stop at a Houston auto glass repair shop or any other safe spot immediately to let the vehicle cool down.

If you find that your car tends to overheat, you need to have the problem corrected. A Houston mobile auto glass repair service should have a list of mechanics who can help you. Occasionally, the force of a radiator cap explosion can damage your windshield. In that case, you can have a Houston mobile windshield repair company replace your windshield and get a mechanic to fill your coolant and check for other problems that may be causing the chronic overheating.

Possible Causes for Overheating

Your vehicle can overheat for several reasons.

  • The cooling fan has stopped working. That can be caused by frayed wiring to the fan or a burned-out blower motor. The radiator switch could be bad, which keeps the fan from turning on when it should. Your mechanic can discern the cause quickly in either case.
  • You might have a leak in the radiator or the reservoir. Usually, you will get a warning light on the instrument panel if that is the case. If you notice that the coolant is low, add some. You should always carry coolant just to be safe.
  • The thermostat is not opening. Once the temperature of your vehicle reaches a certain point, the thermostat opens to allow more coolant to flow.
  • The fan belt has broken, which causes your car to overheat rapidly. A quick look under the hood will tell you if that is the problem.
  • The radiator is clogged, and coolant cannot circulate. Flushing the radiator will solve that.

What You Should Do If Your Car Overheats

If you notice the temperature gauge going up, take action immediately.

  • First of all, turn off the air conditioner if it is running. This reduces the load on the engine and can buy you some extra time to get to a safe location or a mechanic.
  • Turn on the heater. This may seem counterintuitive, but your heater draws heat from the engine. Turning it on could lower the temperature enough to get you out of harm’s way.
  • Pull over, and turn off the engine. To be safe, wait at least half an hour for the engine to cool down before you open the hood.
  • If you have coolant in the car, add it after the engine has cooled. Never add cold water to a hot engine. That could cause the engine block to crack.

If you notice steam or smoke coming from beneath the hood, pull over, and get out of the car. A fire may be starting, so do not open the hood and give it air. If you see flames, call 911.

Never drive your car if the gauge is all the way in the red. The engine might freeze up, which is catastrophic.

Whatever you do, stay calm and follow these tips, and you will get through this emergency with as little bother and expense as possible.

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