If you’ve been driving for many years in many different vehicles, chances are you’ve experienced an engine overheating. This isn’t always the result of an old or poorly conditioned vehicle. The summer heat can cause havoc under the hoods of your the newer model vehicles. If you’re driving and you notice visible signs–temperature gauge, smoke, etc.–then you shouldn’t panic. But here are a few steps to take if your engine is overheating.
If you’re paying attention to your temperature gauge and the needle is in the red, something is definitely wrong. Pulling over right away may not be possible or necessary. Try sending the needle in the other direction by turning the heat all the way up. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s really not. This directs heat away from the engine and towards the cabin. You’ll probably have to roll down a window so you don’t bake.
When your vehicle’s temperature keeps getting hotter, you’ll need to pull over as soon as it’s safe. Give the car a chance to cool down by turning it off. There may be steam or smoke coming from under the hood, and this the point where most drivers will call for roadside assistance. If you’re comfortable with checking under the hood, only do so after the engine has had a chance to cool down sufficiently.
If you’re taking a look under the hood, you should check your coolant levels. It may be completely empty or very low from a leak. If the coolant levels are fine, then it may be the temperature gauge that broken. Continue letting your car cool down, and then carefully get back on the road. You should be fine to make it to your destination.