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4 Steps to Take if Your Engine is Overheating

When it comes to your car, an overheating engine is not an issue you want to let linger. Overheating could cause serious, permanent damage to your engine. When your car's engine is overheating, an alert will light up on your dashboard. Other signs of an overheating engine include a strange smell coming from the engine and even steam coming from under the hood. Check out these steps to take as soon as you notice your engine overheating to prevent serious damage and costly repairs.

car engine overheating

1. Turn Off the A/C

Your car's air conditioner can overwork your engine system. It also exposes the engine to more exhaust heat. Immediately turn off your A/C to reduce the load on your car's engine.

2. Lay Off the Brakes

Brakes that don't properly engage (or even brakes working properly) can overheat and lead to brake fade. Instead of slamming the brakes, let up off the gas and slowly come to a halt when it's safe. This can prevent the temperature from rising and minimize potential damage under the hood.

3. Pull Over

The most important thing to do when your engine is overheating is to stop driving. Pull over at the first safe opportunity and shut off your car. This will give the engine an opportunity to cool down and let you investigate the problem.

4. Check and Add Coolant

Your engine may have low coolant or coolant that's not circulating properly and can't handle the heat load. Topping off your coolant can help protect your engine and prevent overheating until you can get to your nearest auto repair shop.

What NOT to Do if Your Car Engine is Overheating

It's just as important to know what not to do in a car emergency. Avoid these knee-jerk reactions when your engine is overheating:

  • Don't panic.
  • Don't keep driving. Stop and investigate the problem.
  • Don't open the hood immediately. Let it cool first.
  • Don't let the issue linger. Only use a short-term fix to make it to an auto shop.

At Custom Complete Automotive, we strive to keep your car in excellent condition. If you notice your car engine overheating, or have any other engine or auto problems, visit one of our six locations in Missouri! We’ll get you back on the road in no time. To learn more about our engine repair services, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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