What does it mean when your car is overheating?
Ruh roh, your gauge is climbing to the dreaded red H. What is causing it and what can you do to fix it before it destroys your engine or causes some very expensive bill? Cars start to over heat as they reach 250 degrees. (Cars usually run at 195-220 degrees. Just to give you an idea.) Now keep in mind that the boiling point for your coolant is 250–260 degrees. Not much wiggle room, is there?
Why is it important?
Cooling your engine is very important. As it is with most machines, like your computer, keeping things cool as they do their job keeps every thing from breaking down due to heat and friction. Here are some things that happen to your car as the temperature climbs.
- Lowers your fuel combustion efficiency
- Causes corrosion
- Starts to heat and warp the metal in and around your engine.
- Causes the viscosity of the liquid in your engine to change to gunk (oil, Coolant, etc)
What should you do?
- PULL OVER- If you notice your car overheating pull over as soon as you can! If there isn’t a safe place to pull off turn on your heat to pull the heat away from your engine and, I cannot stress this enough, pull over as soon as you can! Overheating can cause serious damage to your vehicle. It is recommended to pull over in less than a ¼ mile.
- CALL FOR HELP- After you pull over; open the hood of your car! Let your car cool down and call AAA (or towing company) and have them tow you to a mechanic. If you’re going to try to see what went wrong, check to see if you have any coolant in your reservoir. It should be half full. If it’s empty wait till your engine is completely cool (at least 30 min). If you do not you can seriously hurt yourself. The liquid can shoot out and harm you. Think Volcano. After its cool, fill it with your cars recommended coolant. This is all that I can recommend that you do yourself. Especially on the side of the road.
- LET PROFESSIONALS FIX IT- Barring that you just inconveniently ran out of coolant you might have a disconnected hose, a leak, a blocked hose, the wrong coolant in your car, a radiator problem, broken thermostat, etc. If you’re reading this you’re probably not a mechanic. I would recommend that you let professionals handle it. (You ever see those Pintrest fails? Don’t want one of those, that could cost you even bigger money)
How can I prevent this?
- It is recommended that you get your coolant flushed every 30,000 miles or every 5 years, whatever comes first.
- If coolant labels confuse you, don’t just pick something and throw it in.
- Get regular maintenance on your vehicle.
- But keep in mind that life happens; things will wear out on your vehicle. There is no way to completely prevent this from happening. The best thing to do is be forewarned on what to do before something like this happens.