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What to do if the Car is Overheating

Heading out for a relaxing drive on a hot summers day with the air conditioner blazing can be very relaxing. But what do you do when signs start to appear of the car overheating? Here are a few steps to help you stay calm and take control of the situation.

Basic Steps

If you are having problems with the car overheating, just follow these quick and easy tips that will help keep you and your car safe.

As soon as the temperature gauge starts creeping up to H, quickly turn off the A.C and open the windows. If the needle is still moving toward H, turn on the heat and point the vents towards the windows. This will help cool down the engine by releasing some of its heat.

If the gauge is still rising to the red section after having completed those steps, pull over if possible and turn the car off. If there is steam, wait until it has subsided, then pop the bonnet. This will help release the rest of the steam and cool down the engine quicker.

The next step is to use a rag to twist the radiator cap off. Be careful though as this cap can be extremely hot. Make sure it has had enough time to cool down.

Once the cap is off, check the levels of radiator fluid in the radiator and coolant reservoir tank and fill as need be. If they are completely empty, look under the car and see if there are any noticeable leaks. If there aren't any leaks and the tank and radiator didn't need more fluid added, this could be a sign that it is an electrical or mechanical problem. It would be best to take the car to a mechanic and have them take a look at it.

Unfortunately it is not always possible to pull over as soon as the car shows signs of overheating. If this happens while stopped in traffic, put the car in Neutral or Park and rev the engine. This will increase the water pump and fan speed which in turn helps cool down the radiator.

Also, try and stay away from using the gas and brake pedals as this makes the engine work harder. If possible, try and move at a slow and steady pace until you can get to a safe location to turn off the engine.

Be Ready

Having a car that is overheating can be an extremely stressful experience, but it doesn't have to be. Be prepared by carrying extra coolant, also called anti-freeze, and a jug of water in the boot of the car. Water can sometimes be used as a temporary solution if coolant is not available. Take notice of the gauge especially on exceptionally warm days. Drive safe!

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