What To Do When Your Car Overheats:
The first thing that you need to know is what to look for. The signs of an overheated vehicle are pretty easy to spot. There is a dashboard temperature indicator that rises when the coolant in the car gets too hot. Most temperature indicators turn red, or look like a thermometer rising. Another more obvious sign is steam or smoke coming from underneath your hood, or in some cases, from the exhaust pipe.
So, what do you do if your car gets too hot? The first thing to do is to shut off your AC and open all your windows. Turning off the AC takes a lot of strain off of the engine, and helps it to begin to cool down on it’s own.
If the temperature is still too high, turn on the heat. Although this might be rather excruciating for you, it takes the heat from the engine and pushes it into the interior of the car. As long as your windows are rolled down, you shouldn’t suffer too much; and your car will thank you.
If it comes down to it, pull over, park, and shut the vehicle off. Do not open the hood manually until the engine is cooler, you could burn your hands on the hood. If you can open your hood from inside the car, then do that.
If you keep spare water or coolant in your car, then feel free to add it once everything is cooled down. If you have a puddle under your car, you might have a coolant leak and you’ll need to see a mechanic. If your liquids are fine and everything was just too hot, drive slowly to your destination and let it cool down completely. Take your car in to your mechanic if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
Now that you know what to do, here are some things not to do. Don’t open the radiator cap until the engine is completely cool, you will burn yourself. Don’t drive more than a quarter mile (don't drive at all if the temps get over 260 degrees) with an overheating vehicle, get to a mechanic’s shop or call a tow truck to help. Don’t stay on the brakes. Going slowly is good, loving on your brakes isn’t. The more often you use your brakes, the more stress is on the engine.
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