We’ve all been there: riding down the road, singing along to your favorite song, blasting that cold AC on a perfect spring day… and then you look down to see your car’s thermostat is rising. Wonder what that means? And it keeps going, then it’s in the red, and then all of the sudden engine lights are coming on, your car is acting odd–you suddenly realize you have a serious problem. You start to panic; why is this happening? What do I do?
Some common causes of an overheating car can be outside temperature, a hose leak, a bad water pump, faulty radiator, a bad thermostat, using the air conditioning, or probably a million other things.
First things first: Pull over to a safe place and turn your car off. If you continue to drive an overheating car you can do irreversible damage to the engine. Pop the hood to allow cooler air around the engine. Many times giving the car time to cool down is the only solution you may need. You also can’t do anything if a larger problem exists until the engine is cool.
NEVER take off the radiator cap. It is pressurized and can cause you some serious burns!
Once the car has cooled down (with GREAT caution) check your antifreeze levels and also check hoses for any leaks or blockages. If there is a leak and you are losing antifreeze or it is not getting to where it needs to be, it will cause the car to overheat. If this is the case you may need to contact a mechanic to fix the problem.
If you are low on antifreeze adding more to the fill line might do the trick. Be careful and only use the manufacturer’s recommended coolant for your vehicle. You can always check your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure what is recommended.
Preventative maintenance might be your best bet in avoiding all this overheating trouble. When doing preventative maintenance check for four key things:
- Make sure vehicle has enough antifreeze
- Check condition of hoses and belts
- Do regular oil changes
- Check the motor fan regularly
Checking these things can keep your car running longer and keep you out of panic mode.
Once you have tried all these things go ahead and restart your car. Make sure you keep an eye on that temperature gauge though in case the problem is more serious; you might need a tow and a mechanic.
A safety kit is always an important thing to keep in your vehicle for times like this. You should always have a blanket, a small toolkit, water, snacks, flashlights, and a first aid kit. You never know what time of day or season this might happen and you can’t rely on your heat in the dead of winter if you vehicle is overheating. Being prepared if you have to wait on a tow truck can make a bad situation a little easier.
An overheating vehicle can seem scary and stressful, but it definitely doesn’t need to be! If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road in San Marcos, TX due to an overheating vehicle, or any other problem, give Will Tow a call for quick and affordable roadside assistance! We’ll pick you up and get your car to your mechanic so you can get back on the road ASAP!