top of page

What To Do (And Not Do) When Your Car Overheats

Franklin, TN Automotive Experts | Heaven Sent Automotive


Today automobiles are equipped with cooling systems that are considerably more advanced than previous models. Utilizing multiple heat sensors and computer-controlled cooling fans, today’s technological advancements keep cars running smoothly and safely on the road.

Causes of Overheating

There are various reasons why your car may overheat and a faulty or failed cooling system is frequently the cause. Other causes may include a malfunctioning water pump, a broken radiator fan, or a clogged coolant hose. Any condition within the car that traps or does not allow heat to escape the engine compartment will lead to problems and, if not attended to, will eventually cause your car to overheat.

Additionally, the type of driving required will also contribute to a car overheating. Highway driving causes less strain on your car’s engine as opposed to continual stop-and-go traffic which strains your cooling system. Conditions worsen further on hot, summer days and increase the likelihood your car will overheat.

Remedy For An Overheated Car

The best precaution for an overheated engine is regular maintenance by the car owner for minor repairs or a qualified mechanic for more complicated issues. A routine maintenance program will evaluate and correct issues with the car’s hoses, gaskets, water pump, and other essential auto parts. Additionally, all oil and fluid levels will be checked to ensure the car is running at maximum capacity.

How to Recognize Signs of An Overheat Car

All cars are equipped with a temperature gauge on the dashboard to inform drivers of their engine temperature. When an engine becomes too hot the gauge will move into the red zone or into the H position to alert the driver of a cooling issue. Another sure-fire way to know your car is too hot is seeing steam rise out from under the car’s hood which is often accompanied by an unusual odor.

What to Do and Not Do If Your Car Overheats

#1: Probably the most important suggestion is what not to do if your car becomes overheated because not only is the integrity of the car in jeopardy but the driver’s physical safety as well. First, stop driving as quickly as conditions allow. Pull off the road to a safe area and turn off the car. It is a good idea to turn on the car’s heater as this will draw heat from the engine and help bring the temperature lower. #2: Second, do not open the hood of your car or the radiator cap since an overheated car can rise in temperatures in excess of 250 degrees Fahrenheit and can explode, spraying scalding coolant onto the driver. It is safest to wait a minimum of 15 minutes to allow the engine to cool. #3: Then, using gloves and a protective towel, slowly open the radiator cap, allowing excess pressure and heat to escape. Fill both the radiator and the overflow tank reservoir, which is mounted to the side of the radiator, with coolant. This mixture of water and antifreeze is used to maintain an even and safe temperature within the engine compartment. If the heat gauge on the dashboard declines, it is safe to begin driving again but keep a close watch on the gauge to be certain overheating does not occur again. If it does overheat, stop the car and call for roadside assistance.

Preparation Is Key

There are many reasons why a car can overheat. Prepare your car for the possibility of overheating by stocking it with some emergency items. A gallon of coolant is a must as is a pair of heat-proof gloves and a towel. Also, carrying a few quarts of quality oil is a good idea.

With some planning, car owners can save themselves from becoming stranded on the road in a disabled, overheated car. Preparation, plus some basic knowledge of the car’s cooling system will keep the car running and keep everyone traveling in the car safe.

Need Automotive Service in Franklin, Tennessee?

Did you know we have been serving the automotive needs of Franklin residents for many years? Finding reliable and trustworthy car repair is a part of every family’s story. We do not want to empty your wallet. We will not sell you something that is not necessary. We pride ourselves in building a trusting relationship with each customer and their vehicle. Every issue you encounter with your car is a new opportunity to ensure your vehicle is safe and that you are happy with our service. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

bottom of page