What To Do When Your Car Overheats

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An overheated car is something to send to a professional technician, but we all know cars don’t wait until you’re at a car dealership to get hot.  Sometimes, you’re in the middle of nowhere when your temperature gauge starts rising and you don’t know what to do.  Well, your friends at Ron Carter Cadillac is here to help with these simple steps you should take if your car overheats.

Step One: Turn Off the Engine

This sounds obvious, but it is of such vital importance that it has to be mentioned. If your car’s temperature gauge gets into the danger zone, you smell coolant, or you see steam coming from the engine bay, it’s time to shut off the engine immediately.  This is one of those scenarios in which you really can ruin your engine for good. So if you do nothing else, shut off the engine and let it cool.

Step Two: Open the Hood

It is very important that you give the engine time to cool before you do anything further. If there is a broken radiator line or a hole in the radiator, there could be a very dangerous situation lurking underneath the hood. If there is steam escaping from the hood of the car, you need to give the car 15 minutes or so to cool down. Once the steam has cleared and the hood is open, give the car a good once-over to find any evidence of leaks or damage to the radiator or its hoses.

Step Three: Remove the Radiator Cap

Caution: You must be extremely careful about this. An overheated engine will be filled with incredibly hot liquid that is under pressure. Once the engine cools down, then, with a rag to protect your hand, remove the radiator cap. There will most likely be some steam that escapes so be very careful with this step. If you can’t see any water/coolant in the radiator, you need to add some.

This advice applies only if, as we suggested at the top, you’re in the middle of nowhere and need to get your car to safety. If you can, just have the car towed to a technician. If you can’t, you need to add some water or coolant or, ideally, a 50-50 mixture of the two.

Step Four: Start the Car

Assuming you don’t have a leaking radiator hose or a damaged radiator, you’ve allowed your car a good 10-20 minutes to cool, and your radiator is now full of coolant/water, you can start your engine.

Keep a very close eye on the temperature gauge and shut the car off again immediately if the gauge begins its climb back to the red zone. If the car continues to overheat, then driving it is not recommended. Park it and call for roadside assistance to bring it to a reputable service center like the expert service technicians at Ron Carter Cadillac.

We hope we’ve made it clear that this is a stop-gap solution to a problem that will ultimately require the attention of a technician. Come see us, and you’ll be back on the road in no time with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your vehicle was repaired by pros with genuine Cadillac parts.

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