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What To Do When Car Overheats? A Guideline And Safety Tips

What to do when car overheats? Well, the best thing you can do is to ask for help and call a mechanic but the safest bet is to stay prepared.

Hot weather and older vehicles are the two main catalysts for overheating car. Not quite unprecedented but modern cars hardly suffer from this problem. It could happen when you are climbing an uphill or get caught up in stop-and-go traffic on an exceptionally hot day.

What To Do When Car Overheats?

When a vehicle becomes extremely hot, the dashboard temperature indicator rises. Another indication could be a turned on malfunction indicator light. What to do when your car runs hot? Follow these tips to help your car going back to the normal temperature:

1. Shut the A/C off

Turn the air condition system off as soon as you realize that the car is overheating. It will take some load off the engine and reduce its temperature. Open the windows to quicken the process.

overheating car
Drive with windows open


2. Turn On The Heater And Blower

If shutting off the A/C does not help, switch on the heater and blower. Sounds strange? Well, it will transfer the heat from the engine to inside the car. You might feel like being in the desert, but your overheated engine will get relief.

3. Rev The Engine While In Idle

Another strange idea? Not so much if you know the reason. If you notice the temperature increase while in traffic, rev the engine a bit after shifting the gear to ‘Park’ or ‘Neutral’.

This process speeds up the water pump and the fan, pulling more air and water through the radiator. The boosted liquid and air circulation help cool the engine off.

4. Stop Driving And Wait

If the engine gets on the verge of boiling over, stop driving and park the car to a safe place. Open the hood and wait until the engine cools off. Don’t try to open the radiator cap to release some pressure and heat. It may cause accidents, including burning your hands. If you want to add water, wait until the engine goes back to the normal temperature.

what to do when your car runs hot
Give the engine time to cool off

The Safety Tips

You already know what to do when car overheats. But, these are the tips for what you should not do when the engine is overheated.

  • Don’t drive the car more than a quarter mile. Call a mechanic or have the car towed to the nearest garage to avoid further engine damage.
  • If you need to add water before the engine cools off completely, don’t rush with it. Add it slowly when the engine is on and the gear is at ‘Park’ or ‘Neutral’.
  • Don’t apply brakes frequently when the engine is boiling. It makes the engine work harder and causes further damage under these circumstances. Even if you face stop-and-go traffic, just keep moving slowly without pressing on the brake pedal repeatedly.