What to Do When Your Car Heats Up?

What to Do When Your Car Heats Up?

A carefree family hops in a car, ready to go on a road trip. While they are on the go, their car starts to heat up, forcing them to pull over. 

It seems like a scene from a movie but it is something you wouldn’t want to happen to you. Even though cars today have multiple computer-controlled electric fans and heat sensors to facilitate your engine to run in different weathers, overheating can still happen. 

Why Do Engines Overheat?

You may be wondering “why is my car overheating?”

Engines generally overheat because something is not right inside the cooling system which prevents the heat from escaping the engine. Some of the reasons that cause this issue include faulty radiator fan, cooling system leak, broken water pump and clogged coolant hose. 


Regardless of the cause of the issue, you should not let it linger because it could lead to permanent engine damage.

Now that we know what causes your engine to overheat, let’s discuss some of the symptoms that help you identify that your engine needs inspection. 

Signs That Your Engine Is Overheating

These signs will help you take action at the right time before things get worse.

  • Steam coming from the front side of your vehicle, specifically the hood.
  • The engine temperature gauge moving into the red area of the gauge or spiking H. Engine temperature gauge may vary, so make sure you check your car user manual.
  • A weird smell coming from the engine. For example, leaking oil may release a burnt smell, while a leaking coolant can smell sweet. 

Steps to Follow When You Have an Overheated Engine

If you are unable to identify the above mentioned signs and your car stops somewhere in the middle of the road, there is no need to panic, just follow these steps:

Step 1: Kill The AC and Turn On The Heater

As soon as your car starts acting up, turn off the air conditioner as it will reduce the stress on the engine. Once that is done, turn on the heater. This will pull all the heat away from the engine and will give you time to pull over safely. 

Step 2: Find a Place to Pull Over

Pull over and shut off the engine. Let your car cool down for 20 minutes and keep an eye on the temperature gauge and wait for it to move back to the normal range. 


While you are waiting for the engine to cool down, think of a plan to get yourself out of this situation. Call a friend, a mechanic or a tow truck and ask for help. 

Step 3: Check and Add Coolant

If your coolant level is dropping, a quick thing that you can do to prevent overheating is adding coolant. However, this step won’t be very useful if the source of the problem is a broken water pump or fan radiator or a clogged coolant hose. 

Make sure you go through the owner’s manual to locate your coolant reservoir tank. You can also learn how to add coolant to your vehicle by going through the manual. 

Step 4: Restart The Engine

It is suggested you restart your engine only if you are unable to find a towing service nearby. If you decide to restart your engine, try to find a workshop that is as close to your location as possible.

What NOT To Do When Your Car Overheats

Avoid doing the following things if you car overheats:

1. Do Not Panic

The worst thing that you can do in a situation like this is to start panicking. We know that situations like these are tough, but keep calm. 

2. Do Not Keep Driving

If you feel like your car is getting hot and if you keep on driving, you are not doing yourself a favor.  You may be able to reach your destination but it will cause significant damage to your engine. 

3. Do Not Open The Hood As Soon As You Stop

As soon as you pull over, do not open the hood immediately. It will put you at risk of injuries and burn from the smoke and spewing steam. 


Wait for the engine to cool and then open the hood.

4. Do Not Let the Issue Linger

You may feel like the issue has been resolved after adding the coolant but do not be fooled – engine heating damage is a real thing. Get to the root of the cause and get your car inspected by a professional. 

You can get car inspected services from OLX Pakistan as well. 

Things You Can Do To Prevent Overheating

  • Regular coolant flushed performed on your car
  • Make sure there is no unusual wear and tear on your drive belt
  • Check your radiator and make sure there is no unusual built up of mud, bugs or leaves
  • Check your radiator cap and make sure the spring is not weak otherwise it won’t be able to handle the pressure needed to prevent overheating.

We hope this blog was helpful to you. Do let us know if there are any other concerns you would want us to write on. 

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