You’re driving along, and suddenly your car starts to feel sluggish. Then, it happens: your car overheats and shuts off. It’s not only frustrating, but it can also be dangerous. Here’s what you need to know about what to do when your car overheats and shuts off.
What Causes Your Car to Overheat?
Your car overheating is often a sign that something is wrong with your engine. The most common causes of engine overheating are a malfunctioning thermostat, a faulty water pump, low coolant levels, or a clogged radiator.
The thermostat regulates the engine’s temperature by opening and closing as needed. When the thermostat malfunctions, it can become stuck in the closed position, preventing coolant from flowing through the engine.
Faulty Water Pump
The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to regulate the engine’s temperature. If the water pump fails, the coolant won’t circulate properly, causing the engine to overheat.
Low Coolant Levels
If your coolant levels are low, there won’t be enough coolant in the engine to regulate the temperature properly.
The radiator is responsible for cooling the coolant before it is recirculated back into the engine. If the radiator is clogged, the coolant won’t be able to cool down before it returns to the engine, causing the engine to overheat.
What to Do When Your Car Overheats and Shuts Off
If your car overheats and shuts off, the first thing you need to do is safely pull off the road. Once you’re out of traffic, follow these steps:
Turn Off the Engine
If your car has overheated and shut off, it’s critical that you turn off the engine. Continuing to run the engine can cause serious damage and lead to expensive repairs.
Allow the Engine to Cool Down
Wait for the engine to cool down before attempting to do anything with the car. Opening the hood or trying to add coolant while the engine is still hot can cause serious burns.
Check the Coolant Levels
Once the engine has cooled down, check the coolant levels. If the levels are low, add coolant to the reservoir to bring it back up to the proper level. Be sure to use the correct type of coolant for your car.
Check the Radiator
Check the radiator for any signs of damage or leaks. If you notice any issues, you may need to have it repaired or replaced.
Check the Water Pump
Check the water pump for any signs of damage or leaks. If you notice any issues, you may need to have it repaired or replaced.
Check the Thermostat
Check the thermostat to see if it’s stuck closed. If it is, you’ll need to have it replaced.
Call for Assistance
If you’re unable to identify and fix the issue yourself, it’s best to call for assistance. A tow truck can take your car to a mechanic who can diagnose and repair the problem.
Car overheating and shutting off is a frustrating experience. However, it’s important to remain calm and follow the steps above to ensure your safety and minimize the damage to your car. Remember to always contact a professional mechanic if you’re unable to identify and fix the problem yourself.
- Can I drive my car after it overheats and shuts off?
No, it’s not safe to drive your car after it overheats and shuts off. Continuing to run the engine can cause serious damage and lead to expensive repairs.
- What type of coolant should I use?
Check your car owner’s manual to see what type of coolant is recommended for your car.
- How often should I check my coolant levels?
You should check your coolant levels at least once a month.
- How do I know if my water pump is failing?
Signs of a failing water pump include coolant leaks, engine overheating, and a loud whining noise from the engine.
- How much does it cost to repair a clogged radiator?
The cost to repair a clogged radiator can vary depending on the severity of the clog and the make and model of your car. It’s best to contact a professional mechanic for an accurate estimate.