Is Your Engine Overheating? Here Are Do’s & Don’ts

With temperatures heating up this summer season, your car is at a higher risk of the engine overheating. The only thing worse than having your day interrupted by an overheated engine is not being prepared for it. Here is everything you need to know so you are equipped to handle this stressful situation. 

How Will I Know If My Car Is Overheating? 

  • One early warning sign that your car may be overheating is that your vehicle is having trouble getting warm. A faulty heater may be a signal that your coolant is running low or that your engine’s thermostat is stuck. 
  • Your temperature gauge needle on your car’s dashboard points to “H” or enters the red area.
  • Your “Check Engine” light is illuminated.
  • You smell an odd, sweet aroma coming from the front of your car.
  • You see steam (which may look like smoke) coming from the front of your car.

Why Is My Car Overheating In The First Place? 

  • There may be a leak in your cooling system, causing it to not work properly. 
  • You may have very low oil.
  • Your water pump may not be functioning properly.
  • Your radiator may not be functioning properly.
  • One of your hoses or belts may be clogged (from corrosion or mineral deposits) or worn out.

What Do I Do Now? 

  • Turn on the heat and turn off the air conditioning. Turning on the heat will help take some warmth away from the engine. 
  • As soon as you can, find a safe place to pull over.
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Next, call for a “tow truck near me”. Operating your vehicle when it is overheated can cause severe, permanent damage to your engine.
  • Let your car sit for at least 15 minutes. While waiting, monitor the temperature gauge. 
  • Check your coolant levels. Once your car has cooled down and it is safe to open the hood, check your coolant levels. If you happen to have coolant on hand, add it to the coolant reservoir if it is running low. 
  • Afterwards, you should consult your local mechanic. If your engine is overheating, it is likely caused by an issue that needs to be addressed by a professional mechanic.

What Should I Not Do? 

  • You should not turn on or turn up your air conditioner. This creates more strain on your engine and causes it to have to work harder. 
  • You should not open your hood immediately. Not waiting for the engine to cool off can result in serious injury to the person trying to open the hood. 
  • You should not keep driving or ignore the issue. This can result in serious, permanent damage to your engine and is very dangerous. 
  • You should not panic. Although this is easier said than done, you should try your best to remain as calm as you can. If you pull over too quickly or slam on the brakes, it can be a threat to your safety as well as the safety of others around you.

How Can I Be Prepared For This Situation?

  • Keep a small container of coolant in your car. It is always a good idea to have extra coolant on hand just in case your car overheats. 
  • Make sure you are replacing your coolant often. You can take your car to a mechanic to get this service done, or you can do it yourself. Simply check your car’s manual to see what type of coolant it requires, then use a funnel to pour the coolant into the coolant reservoir. Most engine coolant lasts around 100,000 miles, but older or higher-mileage vehicles should be serviced according to the recommended schedule of the manufacturer. 
  • Make sure your car is getting regular maintenance checks. This is helpful for the overall health of your vehicle and can help you avoid some pricey repairs in the future. 

What Can I Do To Combat Overheating?

With the extremely hot Georgia temperatures, it is even more important to be mindful of the risk of overheating. Here are a few things you can do in the summer to prevent your engine from overheating.

  • If you can, park in a covered space like a garage, carport, or parking garage. This will decrease your car’s overall temperature and prevent overheating.
  • When you pull away from your parking space, look for any fluids on the ground to ensure that your car does not have any leaks

What Cars Are Most Prone To Overheating?

According to, here are the top five cars that most commonly overheat.

  • Subaru Impreza STI
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X MR
  • Honda Civic
  • Nissan R35 GT-R
  • Nissan 240SX

We hope that you never experience a car emergency like this. However, if you do, Statewide Wrecker is always one call away. We are capable of providing you with roadside assistance in any situation or vehicle emergency. We are available for towing anywhere in the Metro Atlanta area, and our fleet of service vehicles and tow trucks are guaranteed to reach you in a timely manner. Call us at 770-279-8424 or contact us online for immediate service.

engine overheating