Dealing with a car that’s running hot can be a stressful and concerning experience. If left unaddressed, an overheating engine can cause serious damage and even lead to a complete breakdown. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent your car from overheating or mitigate the issue if it’s already happening.

Here are some do’s and don’ts of dealing with a car that’s running hot:


Turn off the A/C and open the windows

It’s summertime, and for many of us, that means hitting the open roads and taking a drive. However, it is important to keep an eye on your car when it is especially hot out – you don’t want the temperature gauge to creep up into the red zone! If you feel like the heat is getting a bit too much for your vehicle, consider turning off the air conditioning and rolling down the windows. Doing this will help reduce stress on the engine and allow more air to circulate throughout your car, potentially cooling it down in no time. This simple do is essential if you’re looking to keep your automobile running in tip-top condition as temperatures continue to rise!

Pull over and turn off the engine

While it’s tempting to push a car’s engine to the limits and hope for the best, certain precautions must be taken. Whenever the temperature gauge starts to rise, it’s essential to pull over as soon as it’s safe. Once in a safe location, turn off the engine to prevent any further damage from occurring. This will give the engine time to cool down before starting your journey back up again. Taking these precautions when necessary can help save you from extensive repairs and keep your vehicle running smoothly for longer.

Check the coolant level

Checking the coolant level of your vehicle’s engine should be done regularly to ensure proper performance. If need be, it’s important to add more coolant if the level is low. However, don’t make the mistake of adding it while the engine is still hot. Wait until it has cooled down and use only the manufacturer-recommended type, as generic brands may not work as well or contain additional chemicals that could damage your engine.

Check for leaks

Regularly checking your vehicle for leaks is essential in ensuring it runs smoothly and efficiently. If you ever notice that the coolant level is running low, there may be a potential leak within the system. It’s important to check the hoses, radiator, and water pump for any signs of damage or leakage before continuing use. Taking your car to a certified mechanic can also help guarantee that any problem areas are identified quickly and resolved safely. Being proactive with maintenance can save you time and money in the long run!

Schedule a professional inspection

It’s always a good idea to schedule an annual checkup with a professional mechanic, even when your car is running fine. A trained eye can spot any potential problems or issues before they become costly and time-consuming repairs. They may also be able to identify potential cooling system issues that could lead to overheating if left unchecked.


Drive the car while it’s overheating

Driving a car while it’s overheating is an incredibly serious and costly mistake that no driver should make. Not only can it lead to serious engine damage, but it can also create various other problems with the car in the long term. It may also take a very long time to repair the car—if it is even possible—which will cost more per hour than a mechanic would typically charge for a regular repair job. Therefore, if your temperature gauge goes into the red zone while you’re driving, it’s best to pull over and shut off your engine immediately. Let the car cool down before driving again to avoid any potential and costly issues that could arise from not following this rule.

Add cold water to a hot engine:

One of the biggest “don’ts” when working on a vehicle is to never add cold water or coolant to an engine that is already hot. Upon starting the car, it takes time for a vehicle’s engine to reach its optimal temperature, during which time it can become quite hot. Adding cold water or coolant too quickly can result in cracks forming in the engine block and ultimately require major repairs to fix. It’s always best to allow the engine sufficient time to cool down before adding any kind of liquid. Furthermore, many types of automobiles require specific types of coolant; make sure you get what’s appropriate for your vehicle before you start filling up that radiator!

Ignore the problem

If you find an issue with your engine, don’t try to ignore it. Even if there are no visible warning signs such as smoke coming out from the hood, your car could be facing an unseen problem such as an overheating engine. This is a common and risky issue that can occur over time and if not dealt with quickly can greatly damage your car. It is therefore important to pay attention to any warning signs and not put off addressing the issue for later.

Use the wrong type of coolant

Many drivers are unaware of the importance of using the right type of coolant in their vehicles. Coolant helps to keep the temperature of an engine in check, and using the wrong kind can lead to serious damage. Heat expands metal and causes it to wear down quickly. Without the protection that using the correct coolant offers, owners may face expensive repairs if they fail to use manufacturer-recommended coolant with regular replacement. Taking a few minutes to make sure you have the right coolant could save you a lot of time, money, and stress on your car in the long run.

Attempt to fix the issue yourself if you’re not experienced

When dealing with an overheating engine, it’s best to seek professional help if you’re inexperienced in servicing a car. If you choose to take up the task yourself without knowledge of how to go about it, your efforts might result in further damage rather than a fix and might end up costing more than if you had gone to a professional right away. In such cases, not investing the time to break out your tools and research repair services is often the best move; there is simply too much at stake. Therefore, it’s important to keep this in mind when tackling car issues yourself.

In conclusion, dealing with a car that’s running hot can be a stressful and concerning experience. However, by following these do’s and don’ts, you can mitigate the issue and prevent any further damage to the engine. Remember to stay calm, turn off the A/C, pull over to a safe location, check the coolant level, and seek professional help if needed. By taking these steps, you’ll be able to keep your car running smoothly and avoid costly repairs.

Our Experts’ Take

Regardless of the cause of your car running hot, take the necessary precautions to mitigate it. Beyond that, you can replace hoses, thermostats, and damaged parts with help from a local mechanic or do-it-yourself methods if you feel comfortable. Incorporating regular coolant level checks in addition to preventative maintenance services can also make all the difference in avoiding an overheating episode. You should certainly not attempt any repairs yourself unless you have extensive experience in this area because choosing the wrong part or causing more damage is all too common. Ultimately, any prevention is better than a cure when it comes to staying safe on the roads with an overheating vehicle. Here’s our expert’s take on this: The most important thing is to remain vigilant and mindful of any unusual activity with your car, never ignore warning signs, and consult an expert immediately if necessary.

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