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What to do when your car overheats

When outdoor temperatures climb during the hot summer months, the temperature in your vehicle's motorboat can be close to 200 degrees. In that type of heat, it is important to keep your engine cool.

Your car's cooling system is usually up to the task. However, if the needle on your thermometer rises or if you find steam coming under your hood, your car may overheat.

When your car overheats, it often means that something is wrong with one of the cooling system components, which includes your fan, radiator, thermostat, water pumps, hoses and coolant.

5 steps to take if your car overheats

Having the right car insurance can protect your trip. If your car overheats, then these tips can make sense.

  • Turn up the heat. Although you may be tempted to turn on the air conditioner, the opposite is true. Turning on the heat at full blast can actually help dissipate the heat from your engine.
  • Find a safe place to draw over. Driving your car when it overheats can cause serious ̵
    1; and sometimes permanent – damage to your engine, so it's best to stop driving as soon as possible. Pull back and forth from oncoming traffic and then turn off the engine.
  • Open your hood (or call for help) . Once you have parked the car, open the hood to let excess heat escape – then hold back to let things cool down. Be extremely careful and remember that a hot engine can sprout boiling coolant or steam under high pressure without warning. If you are not comfortable opening the hood yourself, there is no shame in calling for help. Either way: Never touch a hot engine with bare hands!
  • Look for leaks. You may not be a mechanic, but some cooling system problems are not difficult to identify. Look at your radiator and hoses to see if you can find leaking coolant.
  • Fill your coolant. If you do not find a leak, you may have some coolant. If you are comfortable and confident in identifying the right parts of your engine, follow these tips from consumer reports for a quick fix. To check your coolant level, remove the radiator cap – but only after your engine has cooled down. When your engine is cool, use a towel to slowly remove the cover. Your coolant should reach the top of the radiator. If it does not, refill it. And be sure to check the coolant expansion tank if your car has one. Most cars use a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze, but you can only add room temperature water as a temporary fix.
  • Know when to call a mechanic. If your car was low on coolant, you can restart it after topping it. Keep a close eye on your temperature gauge to ensure it is in a safe range. If you found a coolant leak, or if your coolant was full, you may have a more complex cooling system problem and it's time to call your mechanic.

How to prevent your car from overheating

Before embarking on your next summer road trip, follow these steps to prevent your car from overheating and spending your vacation in the workshop.

  • Check your coolant level and make sure it is fresh.
  • Check your drive belt to make sure there is no unusual wear.
  • Check your radiator. If the car's A / C condenser is in front of your radiator, a buildup of leaves, bugs or mud can block the air flow.
  • Check your radiator cap. If the spring is too weak, it may not be able to maintain the pressure required to prevent boiling and overheating.

Finally, be sure to schedule a multi-point inspection of your car before going on a trip or vacation. A reliable mechanic will know to check for maintenance issues that would need a quick action to make your device as smooth as possible.


If you get stuck on the side of the road, it's good to know you will need help if you need it.

Emergency road coverage from ERIE can help with mechanical interruptions as well as locks, flat tires or dead batteries. It can even save the day when your car runs out of gas.

Better yet? Adding Emergency Roadside Service coverage to your ERIE car insurance costs only about $ 5 per vehicle per year 1 and is available with the purchase of either comprehensive or collision coverage.

You can also buy the coverage with ERIE's Wall and rental package, which includes coverage of rental car costs 2 .

Learn more about Emergency Roadside Service coverage or talk to your local ERIE agent about adding it to your car policy.

1 [19659026] Vehicles eligible for coverage include cars, light trucks and motorcycles. The service also includes horses, livestock and other trailers towed by vehicles that ERIE insures. See individual policies for specific coverage information. Certain terms and conditions may apply. See our Disclaimer for further information. In North Carolina, coverage is purchased with limits ($ 25, $ 50 and $ 100).

2 All states except Virginia and North Carolina include transportation costs with extensive coverage but must be purchased separately for a Collision Loss. The car rental coverage is based on the type of rental vehicle rather than a specific dollar amount. Virginia and North Carolina include transportation cost coverage with comprehensive coverage and collision coverage and are covered by a limit per day.

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