Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

When to do when your car engine overheats

First steps when your car engine overheats

When your car engine overheats, immediately pull over to a safe place on the side of the road and shut off your engine. Turn on your hazard/emergency flashers. Then call a tow truck.

Worst things to do when your car overheats

• Keep driving to the nearest exit

• Turn your heater on high and blower on high and keep driving until you can find a place to stop

• Drive at a faster speed thinking that the increased speed will ram more air through your radiator.

Why you should call a tow truck when your car overheats

Older cast iron engines could withstand a lot more abuse from overheating. Modern aluminum engines are just the opposite. A single incidence of overheating can warp the cylinder head and cause a breach in the head gasket. Once that happens, engine coolant can leak into the crankcase. At that point, the coolant mixes with the engine oil, turning it into a thick milkshake. The oil pump pumps that sludge through your engine, destroying bearings along the way. Result? Destroyed engine. Cost? About $3,000-$5,000.

Or, the head gasket breach can allow exhaust gasses or oil to flow into the cooling system. The extra pressure from the exhaust gas forces the cooling system to spit out the excess, which means you’ll be running low on coolant in not time, making the problem even worse. If you keep driving, the overheating and lack of coolant will destroy your engine. If you’re lucky, you’ll get out of this with just a head gasket repair for around $1,500.

Why call a tow truck when your car engine overheats?

Look, a tow is inconvenient and expensive. Plan to spend at least $200. And yes, you’ll probably wind up at a repair shop you’ve never dealt with. But if you pull over immediately, you limit the damage to your engine. The math is simple: Tow: $200 Head gasket : $1,500 or new engine for $3,000 to $5,000

Want to know more:

See What causes engine overheating

What to do when your oil light comes on

What to do when your Battery light comes on

What to do when your brakes squeak

What to do when your tire pressure light comes on.

What to do when your Check Engine Light or Service Engine Soon light comes on

©, 2017 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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