What to Do When Your Engine Overheats

Photo of car engine

As temperatures rise, the heat tends to put some extra strain on our vehicles. An overheating engine can spell serious problems if not addressed properly. Follow these do’s and don’ts so you know what to do when your engine overheats.

Signs of Overheating

If you’re not paying attention, your engine can overheat before you notice it. Older cars are more prone to overheating, but a new car can overheat too.

  • Keep an eye on your engine temperature gauge. If you notice it in or near the red zone, your engine is getting too hot.
  • Do you smell something funny? It may be your engine. Check the temperature gauge.
  • Water vapor/steam coming from under the hood. Often confused with smoke, steam will pour out of the engine compartment if your engine overheats.


  • Turn off your A/C immediately and roll down the windows.
  • If that doesn’t help, crank up the heater. While you’ll suffer a little in the heat, this transfers the heat from your engine compartment to the inside of the vehicle.
  • Pull over, open the hood (carefully) and let the engine cool down.
  • Check the coolant level. If the tank is empty, you may have a leak. It’s smart to carry some extra coolant and water with you in case you need to add some.


  • Ride your brakes if sitting in traffic. Instead, try to roll slowly or pull off the road if necessary.
  • Open the radiator cap. Wait until the radiator fluid has completely cooled or you could risk severely burning yourself.
  • Add water to the engine. This could change the engine temperature too fast and crack the engine block.

If you need assistance with your engine, don’t hesitate to call American Engine Installations today at 404-920-4252!

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