During the summertime, your vehicle is more likely to overheat during this season’s hot weather. Although it’s rare with most modern vehicles, even a well-tuned automobile can overheat at any time. If you do find yourself in stop-and-go traffic or climbing up a steep hill on an extremely hot day and your vehicle’s temperature indicator starts to rise or a malfunction light comes on, here’s how to help you and your vehicle recover its cool.
Shut Off the Air Conditioner and Open Windows
At the first sign of overheating, do not attempt to drive the car more than a quarter of a mile. Immediately shut off your air conditioner and open up the windows. This will decrease the engine load and help it cool off.
Turn on the Heater and Blower
If the car continues to overheat, transfer the heat from the engine to the driver/passenger compartment. It may feel uncomfortable for you, but will do wonders for your engine.
Switch to Neutral or Park if You’re in Traffic
If your car is overheating in the middle of stop-and-go traffic, shift your vehicle into neutral or park. This will help cool the engine, since setting your vehicle to neutral or park will make the fan and water pump speed up and draw more liquid and air through the radiator.
Avoid Riding Your Brakes
Crawl along slowly if you’re in stop-and-go traffic instead of moving up and then braking repeatedly. Whenever you brake, the drag increases the engine load and will make it heat up. If traffic is crawling slowly, only move up when the gap between you and the vehicle in front of you gets large enough for your vehicle to crawl continuously.
What to Do if Your Vehicle is About to Boil Over
Pull over to the right-hand side of the road, pop open the hood and wait for your engine to cool off. Under no circumstances should you open the radiator cap. If you engine has boiled over, do not add water until the engine is quite cool again. The water’s temperature should be a neutral temperature and not ice cold.
Call for Help
If you have followed the procedure above and your car is taking a long time to cool down, call roadside assistance to tow your vehicle to a local mechanic. You should always have a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle with the contact information for an emergency car service.
Although hot weather is the main cause of overheating, there are other factors that cause the same problem. If your vehicle overheats in normal weather, the water and coolant level in the radiator is low or there could be a leak in the cooling system. Make sure to call for roadside assistance and have a mechanical look at it as soon as possible.
If you do ever find your vehicle overheating this summer, remember to stay calm and follow the steps above. This is a scary situation for anyone to deal with, and it’s always wise to prepare for any circumstance like this while on the road.