TECH TALK: What to Do if My Car Overheats

In this episode of Tech Talk, Jon Hansen talks about engine overheating. Watch the video or read the transcript below!

Hey guys, it’s Jon Hansen, and we are back with another Tech Talk.

Today we will be discussing one of the reasons vehicles get towed to shops the most… overheating.

engine overheating

The biggest cause of overheating is usually in your cooling system. The cooling system controls your engine’s temperature, transmission, and a couple of other components within your vehicle.

If it’s not cooling down your engine as it runs, you are going to have issues and the cooling system will have leaks. If the leak is external or internal, it’s going to cause a problem.

If it’s a hot season, like summer or air conditioning season, you’ll see a puddle of water and that’s usually condensation from your air conditioning system, and that’s normal.

If you see those bright-colored fluids on the ground, like blue, orange, green, purple, or even pink. You have a bigger problem, and it is time to contact a professional.

If your vehicle overheats while you are driving

The best thing you can do is pull over to the side of the road. It can be off the shoulder of the highway or on the side of the street. Get off and turn the car off immediately!

Once you’ve safely pulled your car over, the best thing you can do is to pop the hood. If there is steam coming from underneath it, leave it alone. Let that steam dissipate and get out of there because if the hose is loose in your cooling system it will push that pressure at you, and the coolant can burn you pretty badly.

When the steam is gone, move forward and go ahead and open the hood. If you don’t see any major issues like a hose off, a broken coolant reservoir, or something pretty obvious, the next thing you can do is to check the coolant level on the reservoir.

Most reservoirs have a line that says low, max, or full to let you know where your coolant levels should be. If your coolant level is hot, you’re going to let it cool down. Put your palm lightly on the cap and see if it’s warm or not.

If it’s warm, you want to let it cool down for a few minutes. When it’s cool enough to open, you still want to open it slowly because there could be pressure on that hot system. Once the lid is off the reservoir, you know that you can top it off if it needs it. If you have coolant with you, this will be the best option for you while topping it off.

Jon Hansen pouring coolant in the reservoir.

Pour it slowly, so the cool fluid mixes with the hot fluid to make it fluctuate. Once your coolant reaches that full-line, all you have to do is put that lid back on your reservoir.

If filling the coolant up to the right level and your car cooling off doesn’t solve your issue, the best thing you can do is call for a tow truck and take it to your local BG shop.

Thanks to technology, cars don’t overheat as much as they used to, but if you find yourself in that situation, now you know how to handle it. 

One of the best ways to prevent yourself from ending up in that situation is to have a good maintenance schedule at your local BG shop.

As always, stay safe and protect your investment.

Related cooling system service content:

What causes the coolant light to come on (even in cold weather)?
Do I need to get a cooling system service every spring?
BG Cooling System Service video

Jon Hansen, Territory Manager, Kansas BG

By Jon Hansen
Territory Manager, Kansas BG

Jon works with dealerships as well as independent garages of all types and sizes. He has almost 13 years of technician experience before starting his BG career.

In addition to BG, Jon does freelance writing and photography for multiple magazines on newsstands including Street Trucks Magazine, C10 Builders Magazine, and Tread Magazine.

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