What to Do If Your Car Overheats - Safety Tips
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Things to Do If Your Car Overheats: Must-Know Steps

By 9  am on

What Should You Do if Your Automobile Overheats in San Diego, CA


The cooling system of a vehicle is designed to keep the engine at a safe operating temperature. If the car gets too hot, it can cause severe engine damage. Though modern cars are designed to withstand a variety of conditions, a vehicle can still overheat. If a signal goes off in your vehicle indicating it’s overheating, remain calm and follow these steps, brought to you by the trusted auto insurance San Diego providers at Altra Insurance Services.

Be Prepared

Before operating any vehicle, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re prepared for the chance of an emergency, which includes the possibility of overheating. Always put extra water, a bottle of coolant, the recommended oil for the vehicle, a tool kit, and an old towel in the trunk of your car. Being prepared will make an overheating vehicle an annoyance rather than an emergency.

Try Turning on the Heater

If your car begins overheating and you aren’t in a safe spot to pull over, try turning on the heater. The excess heat will be pulled into the heater core and bring the coolant temperature down. Turning on the heater may bring your car to a cooler temperature until you get to a safe place to pull over the vehicle.

Pull Over the Vehicle as Soon as Possible

Though some vehicles may overheat due to an excessive load or having to drive up a large hill, most likely something is wrong with the cooling system. If the car continues to overheat, pull over the vehicle and turn off the engine, which will rapidly cool the vehicle. Because the engine and cooling systems will be extremely hot, it’s dangerous to open the hood right away. Wait at least 15 minutes for it to cool slightly before opening the hood.

Add Coolant

Once the vehicle has cooled to the touch, use an old towel or put on gloves to take off the radiator cap. Turn it a quarter of a turn at first to release the built-up pressure. Remove the cap completely and add coolant to the radiator or radiator overflow compartment. If the coolant is 50/50 pre-diluted, you only need to add the coolant. Regular coolant needs to be added to the vehicle with an equal amount of water. If you don’t have coolant, regular water can be put in the radiator. However, regular water doesn’t have the antiwear or anticorrosive additives coolant has, so only add water in an emergency.

Call Roadside Assistance

If you don’t have coolant or the car continues to overheat after you’ve added coolant, your vehicle is most likely in need of repair. Call your roadside assistance carrier for help with adding coolant or towing the vehicle to the nearest service station. The service station will be able to diagnose and fix the problem to help you get on the road once again.

If you’re looking for reliable car insurance to cover your vehicle, reach out to Altra Insurance Services. We also offer affordable motorcycle, business, and home insurance as well as surety bonds. San Diego residents can call one of our friendly agents today at 619-474-6666.

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