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What To Do If Your Car Overheats

By Butler Prather LLP on December 18, 2020

Vehicles can overheat. In fact, most people have been inside of a vehicle that has overheated. Not only is this an incredible inconvenience, but it can also present a safety risk for drivers and passengers. Overheated vehicles are not uncommon, and this issue occurs for a variety of reasons, ranging from coolant issues and radiator problems to leaks in the cooling system. Not staying on top of your vehicle’s maintenance can lead to a major problem. Here, we want to discuss what you can do if your vehicle overheats while you are driving.

Pull over as soon as possible if your vehicle begins to overheat

If you see signs that your vehicle is overheating, you need to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Some of the signs that your vehicle may be overheating include the temperature warning light on your dashboard coming on. This light looks like a thermometer inside of a sea of lava. Additionally, you may actually see steam rising out from under your hood, and occasionally this steam makes its way into the inside of the vehicle. You may notice a strange smell, hear thumping noises, or notice reduced engine power. When you get out of your vehicle, approach the hood. If it seems much hotter than normal, you likely have a problem.

After you pull over, you need to turn your engine off and start making plans to get your vehicle towed to the maintenance shop of your choice and then make arrangements for somebody to come to get you. Chances are, you will not be driving your vehicle until after a mechanic has a chance to look at it and fix the problem. Issues like an overheated engine can only be diagnosed and fixed by a trained mechanic. If you continue to drive your vehicle with whatever issues it is experiencing that caused the overheated engine, you are likely to cause permanent damage.

Should you check under the hood yourself?

After you have pulled over, you may want to look at the engine yourself. However, this is not recommended, particularly for a vehicle that has overheated. Even after you turned your vehicle off, it is going to take some time for the engine to cool down and be safe to touch. After the engine cools down, there are some things that you can do safely to diagnose the problem as you wait for roadside assistance.

  • Check the engine coolant level.
  • Check to see if there are any leaks or blockages in the hoses.
  • Look for outwardly obvious problems with the engine.

Outside of these minor diagnostic issues, there is not much you will be able to do on the side of the road.

Proper preventative maintenance

The best way to keep your vehicle from overheating is to ensure that you perform properly scheduled maintenance on your vehicle. First, you can regularly check the coolant level in your vehicle. Additionally, take your vehicle in for all required maintenances. Usually, a reputable company will check all of your fluid levels when you take your vehicle in for an oil change, though there are other scheduled maintenances that you need to be aware of and have performed. While it can be a headache to pay money for this preventative maintenance, the reality is it is much more costly to fix a major problem after one occurs because you failed to perform this maintenance. Call our Atlanta personal injury lawyers today.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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