How to Stop a Car From Running Hot

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Your car's temperature gauge is a diagnostic tool for you as a driver. If it shows high temperatures while driving normally, your car may have a problem with running hot. A car that runs hot is at risk for overheating, which could potentially leave you stranded wherever the car breaks down. There are a few ways to stop your car from running hot until you can have it professionally serviced.

  • Take a note of when the engine overheats. If your engine overheats while the car is in motion, you most likely have a coolant flow issue. If it overheats while sitting parked or at a traffic light, your fan is most likely malfunctioning.

  • Take your vehicle to a service garage to have the fan replaced or replace the part yourself if the car overheats while sitting still.

  • Check your coolant levels often. The coolant has a white plastic overflow reservoir. If the coolant level is below the line marked "minimum" or "min," pour coolant in the overflow reservoir until it reaches the "maximum" or "max" line.

  • Check for coolant leaks if your coolant fluid seems to be low frequently after filling it. A leak will most likely present itself as a spot of fluid on the ground where you normally park your car. Take your car to a garage for service if you detect a leak.

  • Use a coolant additive (radiator flush) when you normally add coolant to your radiator. This will help to prevent a radiator clog, but may not fix a problem that is already present.

  • Inspect your radiator to detect any blockage of the front panel. If there are leaves, debris or any other obstructions, try to remove as much as possible from the front of your radiator. This will allow air to pass through the radiator more easily and cool your engine as it is running.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your car is running hot and is at risk of overheating during a drive you can slow down the process by running your heater on the highest setting. This may be uncomfortable for you, but it should take a significant amount of heat off of the engine and allow you to get the car to your home or mechanic in an emergency.
  • Do not open the radiator cap after your vehicle has been running. The coolant under the cap is under pressure when it is hot, and will cause severe burns.

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