7 Steps To Remaining Calm With An Overheating Vehicle

January 4th, 2024 by

Many of us skip reading our car manual and think we know everything about our vehicle. That is until something goes wrong. And then, we are scrambling to figure out what to do. Car overheating is one of those things. You’re driving along, and suddenly, you see the needle on your temperature gauge soaring into the red. Now, you’re thinking, “My car is overheating! What could be wrong? What do I do?” Relax, we’ve got you covered!


Understand How it Works:

You can’t solve a puzzle if you don’t understand how it works. The same goes for your car. If you don’t know how the cooling system works, you won’t be able to troubleshoot the problem effectively. So, before we get into what to do when your car overheats, let’s quickly go over how the cooling system works.


The cooling system has three main parts:


  • The radiator – Located at the front of the car behind the grille.
  • Water pump – Circulates coolant through the engine block to absorb heat. 
  • Engine coolant – Flows through hoses to the radiator, cooled by air flowing through the radiator fins.


How Would I Know If My Car Is Overheating?

We are all looking for some signs before the big bang happens, and with cars, it is no different. Before you detect smoke emanating from under the hood or steam billowing out from your radiator, you may observe the following:


  • The engine temperature gauge marker is in the hot range or moving toward the “H.”
  • The low coolant light is illuminated on the dashboard
  • There is a burning smell coming from under the hood.


What Should I Do When My Car Starts Overheating?

There’s no guarantee your car will start overheating when you’re close to a service station. If you’re on the highway, pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine when it’s safe to. 


  1. Do not unscrew the radiator cap if the engine is hot! You or anyone else could be seriously burned.


  1. Once you have turned off the engine, open the hood and prop it up with a stick or similar object. It will help air circulate through the engine so it can cool down faster. 


  1. Now would be a good time to call for roadside assistance if you have it.


  1. If you don’t have roadside assistance, you will need to wait until the engine has cooled completely before attempting any repairs. 


  1. Check the coolant level once it has cooled and add more if necessary.
  2. If the coolant level is fine, the next step is to check the radiator hose for any leaks. 


  1. If you don’t spot any leaks, the most likely cause of the overheating is a faulty thermostat.


Bottom line:

The preferred way to deal with an overheating car is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Ensure you regularly check your coolant level and watch the temperature gauge while you’re driving.


If, even for a split second, you feel your engine is showing signs of severe damage, contact Headquarter Nissan, serving Catula, GA


Our team of dedicated highly-trained mechanics will take a look and let you know what must be done so you can get back on the road.


Schedule a service now!

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