It can be scary when your car overheats. There are mild automotive problems like bad transmission or old oil, and then there are emergencies. This is the latter. An overheating engine can lead to your car stalling out at best and an engine fire at worst. These can destroy your car, so it is important to deal with overheats fast.
To that end, Dry Fork Diesel and Auto has prepared this list of three ways to tackle the problem of overheating.
• Turn on the Heater (Really)
This is definitely nobody’s favorite step, especially during the summer when an overheat is the most likely. But it can save your engine from catching fire if done promptly.
The most important thing to remember is that your heater gets its heat from the engine itself. That means that by blowing heat onto you, the engine is losing some heat. It might not seem like it, but it is simple physics. So, the moment your warning lights come on, or if you see smoke coming from your hood, crank that heat up.
• Drive Slow and Gentle
This might be the hardest step in this process, as you might be overheating in the middle of traffic. The slower you can go the better, and obviously stop if you can if your engine temperature light is on. Try to keep your speed at or under 25 if you are in danger of an overheat, or under 45 if you just want to be cautious.
The biggest thing you will want to do is coast on no acceleration as much as possible. When you coast, the engine creates very little combustion, which means it creates far less heat. The motion of your car will air-cool the engine at the same time, even at low speeds. In short, demand less of your car and it won’t overheat.
• Add Coolant if You Have it, call a Tow Service if You Don’t
If you have extra coolant, add it to your coolant system before you start your engine back up. Give your engine about twenty minutes of rest before you start it up again, even with this new coolant. During that time, you should be figuring out the nearest auto shop to take your car to. The closer the better.
If you do not have coolant, then do not start your car, and do not try driving anywhere. Call a tow service and get your car towed. You do not want to be rolling into the shop with a flaming engine. That is not just bad for your engine, that is dangerous for the mechanics that work at the shop.
The name of the game when dealing with an overheating engine is safety. You want to get your car to an auto shop, and you want to get it there with both it and yourself intact. This means you should not rush things. If your car is off and is not currently burning, then you just need to take your time.
Stay safe out there, and try not to panic if this happens to you. Just remember that there are people who are trained to deal with this, and you are trying to get to them as soon as you can.