Sunday, November 9, 2008

What to Do When Your Car is Overheated

An overheated vehicle is a fairly common occurrence, especially in hotter climates or extreme road or driving conditions. The following article covers steps for you to take if you suspect that your engine is overheating.

First, you can probably tell if your engine is overheating. The temperature gauge located on your dashboard will indicate a high temperature. Also, when you feel a substantial loss of power, meaning the car will not accelerate appropriately when the gas pedal is pushed; there is a high probability that your engine is overheated.

A few common sense rules to follow:

Do not drive the car any further than you absolutely have to. Pull off of the road as soon as you can find a safe shoulder. Failure to do so could cause a fire.

Do not turn off the engine. Place the vehicle in Park. If driving a manual transmission, place the vehicle in Neutral.

If you have time, open all of the windows and turn off the air conditioner. Turn the heater or air conditioner knob to the maximum hottest setting. Turn the fan to the highest setting

Doing this may help the engine to cool down. You can monitor the temperature gauge indicator on the dashboard.

If there is water or steam coming from the hood of the car, get out of the vehicle, stand clear, call for assistance, and do not open the hood.

Once the hood is cool and the engine has had opportunity to cool off, remove any jewelry, your watch, tie, and any loose clothing, and slowly lift the hood.

If the engine is hot, do not attempt to remove the radiator cap. Doing so can cause very hot water to spray out. Try not to touch any part of the engine.

At this point, there are a few visual checks that you can make. If any of the next three points are the problem. Turn off the engine.

First, check the belts; if they are frayed, torn, or missing, this is probably the problem.

Check the hoses for tears or leaks; they should not be leaking water.

Make sure the fan is running and the coolant is not leaking.

If you allow the engine to completely cool off, restart the car and with the engine running, you may then check the coolant level. You may add coolant at this time. This will temporarily solve your problem, but there is probably a need to get the car to a car repair facility.

A steaming engine can be daunting, but by following these safety rules, and checking the aforementioned items, you can probably perform a self-diagnosis. At this point it will be necessary to get take your vehicle in for a routine inspection and possible car repair.

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