What to do when your car OVERHEATS

You may have seen this happen in a movie but it may not have happened to you yet. You see steam coming from under the hood. 
Or you may have seen the temperature gauge get into the red or near the red zone. 
What should you do?
  • Option 1: If you see steam coming up from around the hood you should pull over right away. The steam can burn you so you should wait until the steam stops before opening the hood. After you get the hood open look for any signs of broken hoses or anything that may have broken. Don't touch anything because you could easily get burned. Wait until the engine cools off, this could take 30 minutes to an hour. Once it cools off, take a rag and slowly open the radiator cap or expansion tank cap to check the coolant level. If it is low you should add coolant or water if no coolant is available. Then you can drive until you find some place to get your car repaired as long as it does not overheat. If it overheats again or you see steam coming from under the hood you will need to pull over and check the coolant level again. 
  • Option 2: If you don't see steam coming from under the hood and the gauge is approaching the red zone you can turn the heat all the way to hot and the blower on. You should lower the windows because it will get hot inside your vehicle. This will remove some of the heat from the engine and may allow you to drive to the nearest repair facility or get home. 
Last thing to remember is to never drive while the engine is overheating. This could damage the engine and require a very expensive repair.  Cylinder heads can warp and the engine could be damaged so bad it would need replaced or rebuilt. 
It is better to be cautious than to keep driving and damage the engine.  I would highly recommend having a reputable shop look at your vehicle to determine what made the engine overheat. 
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