If you’re stuck in traffic or even just dealing with a little bit of stop-and-go and your engine’s temperature gauge begins to rise, it can be a truly stressful experience. While engine overheating isn’t always the issue, watching the gauge rise can be a serious cause for concern. The hot summers in Springfield, Massachusetts can make it even more prudent for you to pay close attention to your vehicle so you can be aware of the potential signs of overheating. So, what should you do if this happens to you and you’re in rush hour traffic? Here are some helpful tips to guide you.
Get to Know Your Gauge
Get a good feel of what your car’s temperature gauge looks like when it’s set on normal. If it appears to be higher than normal and is staying there for an extended period of time, it’s possibly a cause for concern. Make sure you check your hoses and belts regularly and find out if you just need to have the thermostat replaced. This can be much less expensive than if your entire engine were to be replaced due to actual overheating.
Blast Your Heater
Whether it’s cold or hot outside, if you notice your temperature gauge rising rapidly, turn your heater on to the highest setting. This will drain some of the heat from your engine until you can safely pull over to the side of the road. Once you’re able to get to the side of the road in a safe area, come to a full stop and turn off your engine.
Check Under the Hood
Even the simple act of lifting your hood can help your car’s engine begin to cool down. If steam is coming out, it’s better not to open it just to be safe. Never remove a hot radiator cap since pressurized coolant and steam can come shooting out, potentially burning your hands and face. Never add cold water to your overheated engine as this can cause serious and possibly irreversible damage. Let the engine cool on its own and give it at least thirty minutes. In the meantime, you may need to call for roadside assistance and possibly get it towed to a mechanic.
Inspect Your Coolant Tank
The coolant tank is a clear plastic tank found underneath the hood and located near the radiator. An empty tank often means it’s leaking, and you can also look under your ca for any drips of liquid. If the fluid is just low, you can add the proper coolant for your engine once it’s cooled down. Only add coolant to your tank once it’s completely cool to the touch. If you don’t have access to coolant at the moment, add water to the tank and immediately drive your vehicle safely to a local repair shop. If no leak is detected, there may be a potential mechanical or electrical problem.
If you’re in need of vehicle diagnostics, repairs, or maintenance, call Mike’s Auto Service & Repair at 413-523-0180 today to schedule an appointment!