What do you do? Most of us would assume that the car is overheating, and thus, needs a water refill. So you open the bonnet and unscrew the radiator cap while it's still hot. Just DON'T!
Below is a rundown on why cars overheat, their symptoms, and the Do's and Don'ts when you experience such a scenario:
Why it happens
A car engine can overheat for many reasons. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Problem with the cooling system.
- Faulty water pump/radiator fan.
- Clogged coolant hose.
- Lack of water in the radiator.
- Faulty thermostat.
- Steam (which looks like smole) coming from under the hood.
- Strange smells emanate from the front of the vehicle, particularly near the hood. These can range from sweet smell for leaking coolant to burnt odor for oil leaks.
- The engine temperature gauge on your dashboard move to "H" or the red zone.
So you have one or more of these happening. Here are the Do's and Don'ts when you face such a situation:
- First of all, DO NOT panic. Do not ever slam on your brakes when you face such problem. Calmly pull your vehicle over to the side of the road so you can check what's wrong.
- Now that you have pulled over, turn off all electrical components and turn off your engine, before alighting from the vehicle.
- Wait until the engine has cooled down - you can see when the steam/smoke stops coming out from under the hood, or when your temperature gauge moves down from the "H"/red zone, before popping open the bonnet.
- Once your engine has cooled down enough, you can top-up water in the radiator, at least to get the engine running to get to the nearest workshop. When you get behind the wheel, drive slowly and keep an eye on the temperature gauge.
- Do not keep driving when your vehicle is overheating. This will result in bigger damage to your engine, or worse, cause your car to catch fire.
- Do not keep the engine running, as doing so can cause further stress on the engine.
- Do not pop the hood immediately, as you could be hit by steaming hot vapor or smoke trapped under the hood.
- Also, do not ever open the radiator cap when the car is overheating, as you could risk the boiling hot water, plus the steam to hit and hurt you.
- Let's say you have refilled water and the overheating has stopped. Do not let the issue linger as whatever problem that caused your engine to overheat in the first place will not resolve itself. The problem can only get worse if let unaddressed, so get your car checked with a certified mechanic the soonest possible, before getting the car on the road again.
Source: firestonecompleteautocare.com, carsome.my, geico.com
Photo source: engineeringchoice.com, FIIX.io