What You Can Do If Your Vehicle Overheats
If you are stuck in traffic when your car begins to overheat, it is important that you let your cooler head prevail here some tips according to ForDummies:
- If you're stopped in traffic, put the vehicle in neutral or park and rev the engine a bit. This will encourage water and air flow through the radiator, helping to cool it.
- If you're in KISS-and-go traffic, try to creep rather than alternating between braking and accelerating. Braking generates A LOT of friction, which will only turn up the heat.
Okay, NOW some X-tra tips:
- FIrst, always carry an extra bottle of coolant (antifreeze) in the car, as well as a jug of water. Engines typically overheat cause the coolant's low according Don Chuy (my dad), so topping it off will usually solve the problem. Failing that, H2O will also temporarily do the trick. Plus, that water could be a lifesaver on LONG, summer SOUTHWEST drives.
- When you see the temp. gauge going into the RED or a notification light glowing, TURN OFF your A/C (air condition puts a lot of strain on your engine). Roll the windows down to cool off.
- If the problem continues, crank your heater up to FULL BLAST according to uncle Carlos. It will make the next few miles a BRUTAL experience, but the transfer of heat away from the engine might save its life till you reach an Auto Repair place.
- If the steps above fail, pull over as soon as you can. Turn off the engine. If you can pop the hood from the driver's seat, do it - but don't risk opening it by hand until the engine cools, especially if you see steam coming off the engine. It usually takes 30 minutes for an engine to cool down enough for it to be safe to handle. If you would rather let a professional handle the prob, it's time to call a tow truck!
- Once the engine has chilled out, check the coolant tank. It's usually a translucent plastic tank near the radiator. If the coolant tank is empty, you may have sprung a leak. Take a quick look under the car. If you notice a drip or puddle, chances are the coolant tank is leaking.
(I say don't do this next part cause I've known to many chums that do it and BURN THEIR FACES) --If you have a leak, carefully open the radiator cap. Place a cloth over the radiator cap to protect your hand, and tilt the cap away from you as you open it. Refill the cooled radiator with your spare coolant or water. DO NOT POUR COLD H2O INTO A STILL-HOT RADIATOR - it could cause the engine block to crack due to the sudden change in temp. If you HAVE to add water while the engine is still warm, pour slowly while the engine is running in neutral or park according to Envick.
'Memba most cars require a 50/50 mix of coolant with H2O to prevent overheating, so you won't be able to drive indefinitely with nothing but agua. If you don't have coolant on hand when your car overheats, make sure to add a comparable amount of coolant as soon as possible.
Just some things I've learned watching the family…