What to Do When Your Engine Overheats

What to Do When Your Engine Overheats

As commuters in the Northern Virginia area, we tend to spend a lot of time in our vehicles. Well, now summer is here, and it is getting extremely hot in the Sterling, Virginia, area. When the heat rises, the chance of an overheating vehicle rises too. If that were to happen to you on your way into work, would you know what to do?

At Casey’s Automotive in Sterling, VA, we want you to be prepared when vehicle overheating troubles arise so you can safely assess the situation. Our team of certified technicians has put together a few tips to keep in mind if your vehicle begins to overheat.

Please note, it is recommended that drivers have regular auto maintenance inspections done on their vehicles to ensure safety on the road for everyone. In the event of an overheating engine, here is what you can do.

When an engine overheats it is telling you that your coolant is low. Coolant, or antifreeze, is used to regulate the temperature of the engine. If the coolant is low or has not been boosted, it can cause overheat or even seize.

PULLOVER IMMEDIATELY AND TURN OFF YOUR VEHICLE

Once the vehicle starts overheating, do not drive it more than a quarter of a mile. Pullover in a safe area and turn off the engine. The best thing to do at this point is to get your ride into an automotive shop for an inspection.

IF YOU CANNOT CALL FOR A TOW

Do NOT open your vehicle’s hood right away. You will have to let it cool down first. If you are unsure, look at the temperature gauge in your dashboard.

KEEP A SPARE JUG OF ANTIFREEZE AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE

*It is important to note that not every coolant is appropriate for every vehicle. Make sure you refer to your vehicle’s manual

With overheating engines, a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze a.k.a. coolant is just what you need to solve the problem. This means you will want to check the coolant level in the reservoir tank. You will be able to find the location of this tank by referring to your vehicle’s manual.

After the engine has had ample time to cool, open the hood and find the radiator cap. MAKE SURE THE CAP IS COOL FIRST! Using a cloth or towel, slowly twist the radiator cap off. Take caution while doing this as there could be hot steam ready to leak out. If the coolant is low, pour some coolant into the reservoir tank, and replace the cap twisting it snug. Before closing the hood, check the hoses going in and out of the radiator to see if they are disconnected, broken, or clogged.

Close the hood and restart the engine, then keep your eye on the temperature gauge. This will need to constantly be monitored to ensure the temp does not again cross the optimal mark.

This is meant to be a temporary fix to get you where you need to go as the vehicle will need to be serviced properly.

TURN ON THE HEATER (YES, EVEN THOUGH IT IS HOT)

So, what if you do not carry water or coolant in your vehicle? Here is a trick that probably seems extremely counter-intuitive, but it is the best thing you can do when trying to get to that destination!

By turning on the heat full blast, it relieves heat from the engine and distributes it throughout the cabin. This should prevent the engine from redlining for a short period of time. Just make sure to roll down all the windows and let the breeze cool you down.

REV THE ENGINE

If stopped in traffic for a prolonged period an unable to pull over, one way to counteract this is by placing the vehicle in neutral (KEEPING YOUR BRAKES ENGAGED) and revving the engine a few times. This promotes the flow of water and air through the radiator to cool down the engine at times like this. If you notice the temperature is not decreasing, bring it by your nearest Casey’s Automotive shop in Chantilly, VA, or Sterling, VA. We will take a thorough look and find the cause of the problem.

IF YOUR VEHICLE OVERHEATS, BRING IT OVER TO YOUR NEAREST CASEY’S AUTOMOTIVE SHOP!

At Casey’s Automotive, our team of automotive repair specialists performs a wide range of auto maintenance services in Chantilly, VA, and Sterling, VA to get your vehicle running. When your vehicle is brought into one of our shops, it is subjected to a complimentary inspection so that you know every detail to keep it healthy.

Contact us at our Chantilly Shop at (703) 802-6300 or Sterling Shop at (703)-444-6900 to make an appointment today!