Can you keep driving when your engine overheats? This is a question that many drivers ask themselves when they experience this problem. In most cases, the answer is no – you should pull over and call for help. Driving with an overheated engine can cause serious damage to your vehicle, and may even lead to a fire. In this article, we will discuss what happens when an engine overheats and what you should do if it happens to you.

Why Do Engines Overheat And How Can I Avoid It?

Engines overheat for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is that the cooling system is not working properly. This could be due to a leak in the radiator, a damaged water pump, or a clogged radiator hose. Another common cause of engine overheating is low coolant levels. Coolant levels can drop for many reasons, including leaks, evaporation, and improper cooling system maintenance.

There are a few things you can do to avoid engine overheating. First, make sure you have the proper amount of coolant in your vehicle. Second, check your cooling system regularly for leaks or damage. Third, have your cooling system serviced by a qualified mechanic on a regular basis. By following these simple tips, you can help prevent your engine from overheating.

What Are The Signs Of An Engine Overheating?

If your engine is overheating, you’ll probably notice one or more of the following signs:

  • The engine temperature gauge is above the hot zone
  • The “check engine” or “temperature” light is on
  • Steam is coming from under the hood
  • There’s an unusual smell coming from under the hood

If you see any of these signs, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so. Turn off the engine and let it cool for a few minutes. Check the coolant level and add more if necessary. If your car has an automatic transmission, shift into neutral or park before turning off the engine. Once the engine has cooled, check the radiator cap to see if it’s loose, cracked, or damaged in any way. 

Tighten or replace it if necessary. If there are no obvious problems with the radiator cap, check the hoses for leaks or blockages. If everything looks okay, add more coolant and continue on your way. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge, though, and pull over again if it starts to rise.

If your engine overheats more than once, there could be a bigger problem. Consult a mechanic to have your car checked out as soon as possible. Driving with an overheated engine can cause serious damage, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and get it looked at by a professional.

The Dos And Don’ts Of What To Do When Your Car Overheats


  • Check the owner’s manual. Some cars have a special procedure for overheating.
  • Pull over to the side of the road as soon as possible.
  • Turn off the air conditioner and turn on the heater to full blast.
  • Allow at least 15 minutes for the engine to cool. Keep an eye on the gauge (if one is available) and wait for it to return to its normal range.
  • Open your hood and look to see if the radiator is still full. If it isn’t, add coolant until it reaches the “full” line.
  • Have someone call a tow truck or give you a ride to a service station.


  • Do not continue driving if your engine starts making strange noises or smoking.
  • Do not open the radiator cap if the engine is hot—you could get burned.
  • Do not add water to the radiator if it is low—water will only boil and make the problem worse.
  • Do not add anything but coolant to the radiator.

When it comes to car engines, overheating is no joke. Not only can it seriously damage your engine, but it can also leave you stranded on the side of the road. That’s why it’s important to know what causes an engine to overheat and how to avoid it. We hope this article has helped give you a better understanding of the dos and don’ts of what to do when your car overheats. If you have any questions or need help fixing an overheated engine, be sure to call autoTECH Blackhawk today!

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If you’re considering making a change to an independent auto repair mechanic trusted by thousands of happy customers, look no further than Autotech Blackhawk. Why? We differ from other automotive repair shops because we are a relationship shop. This means that the more of your car repair needs we support you with, the better able we are to customize our recommendations based on your driving habits and needs. Whether you want to keep the daily driver in ‘good enough’ condition, style your new car so that it’s customized just for you, maintain your favorite car in ‘like new’ condition, or even train your whole family to be more knowledgeable about cars – we partner with you to ensure that your cars meet your needs. We also offer an industry-leading 3-Year/36,000-mile warranty, so we only use Original Equipment and manufacturer-recommended products. Contact us now to book your no-contact, friendly appointment! We truly value your trust and your business, so thank you for staying local with your auto repair needs.

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