Summer heat is lovely unless it is your car engine which has overheated!
The biggest culprit is low coolant levels. In order to avoid an expensive repair bill, check your coolant levels! Your engine relies on coolant to circulate and remove heat from the engine and without it heat builds up and overheats your engine.
Summer traffic jams and a faulty electric cooling fan. Electric cooling fans come on when air isn’t being circulated by driving and draws cooler air through the radiator. If your temperature gauge goes up in heavy traffic then check under the bonnet (when convenient) to see if the fan is working.
Other causes include leaky rubber hoses, thermostats not opening, broken fan belts and clogged radiators.
If you see the temperature gauge rising, a warning light come on (indicating that the operating temperature is above average) or steam from under the bonnet then you can be pretty sure that you have an overheated engine!
However, if your heater starts blowing cold air then this could be an earlier indicator of potential overheating as your cooling system might be low on coolant (a mixture of water and anti-freeze)
What to do if your engine does overheat
- If you see steam emanating from under the bonnet then stop immediately!
- Wait for steam to stop before opening the bonnet as you could risk being burnt
- The engine is going to be HOT so wait until it has cooled down before checking radiator pressure cap
- Check the coolant reservoir and top up if necessary (again once the engine has cooled as you don’t want to put cracks in your engine)
- Check your pipes for leaks if the coolant levels were topped up
- Determine if you can drive on or need a tow truck
Prevention is definitely better than cure so make sure you check your coolant levels and hoses for cracking before heading out on a long journey. Our articles on summer driving might also be of use to you.