What to Do When Your Car Is Overheating

Your car’s cooling system protects the engine from heat-related damage that could be detrimental to your vehicle. However, when the cooling system malfunctions—most likely due to leaking coolant—your engine will overheat. Along with a warning light and rising temperature gauge on your dashboard, you may notice that your vehicle is emitting vapor from under the hood (it usually looks like smoke) and that there’s an unusual smell coming through your vents. As soon as you notice these signs, take the following important steps.

Turn Your Engine Off

Continuing to run your engine while it is overheating can cause lasting, costly damage. Pull over and turn the engine off. If you aren’t in a safe location to pull over, turn off the air conditioning and turn up your vehicle’s heat. This will divert heat away from the engine until you can stop the car.

Call a Tow Truck

If your car is overheating on a summer day in Tucson, it could take a long time for your engine to cool enough for you to safely pop the hood and check out your vehicle. Instead of trying to DIY a quick repair, it’s best to call a tow truck and get your car safely to the shop (and yourself out of the heat).

Add Coolant to Your Vehicle

If you are prepared with a well-stocked emergency roadside kit, you might have some coolant on hand. If so, wait for the engine to cool for about 15 minutes before popping the hood. Then, carefully open the coolant reservoir tank using a T-shirt or towel to protect your hand and add enough to reach the fill line. If coolant is not at a low level, you’ll likely need a tow truck to bring your car to the mechanic.

Whenever you need a tow in Tucson, Phoenix, or anywhere else in Arizona, you can count on Barnett’s Towing for fast, friendly service. Call our dispatcher 24/7 at (800) 722-2302.