When a car engine overheats, it can cause serious damage to the engine. That is why you should glance at the temperature gauge on your dashboard every few minutes. You should never allow the gauge to move all of the way into the red, or there will likely be serious engine damage that occurs. The following are the steps that you should take when the car engine begins to overheat, so you can quickly cool it down before damage can occur:
1. Pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine. If there is steam coming from under the hood, do not open the hood, as you will likely get burned. Once the car has cooled completely and is no longer steaming, go ahead and open the hood.
2. Once you have opened the hood, you should first check the coolant level in the coolant reservoir. The reservoir is a plastic jug with a small hose that runs to the radiator. On most makes of vehicle, the reservoir can be filled when the car is hot. However on German and Swedish-made vehicles, the reservoir is under pressure and cannot be opened safely while the engine is hot.
3. Once the engine has completely cooled, use a rag to open the radiator cap. If you try to open the cap of the radiator while the engine is still hot or warm, there is a very good chance you will get burned with hot coolant or steam, so make sure that the car is completely cool.
4. Inspect the radiator. Look inside to make sure if there is any remaining coolant. If necessary, add coolant to fill to the top of the radiator. Then, put the cap back on the radiator.
5. Inspect the hoses running to the radiator to ensure that none have ruptured or are damaged, causing fluid to leak out.
6. Start the engine and keep an eye on the temperature gauge. If you have not fixed the problem, the temperature will start to overheat again, and you will have to turn the engine off again.
7. It is possible to continue driving a high-temperature car if you are a distance from a service station or a telephone and the car is not low on coolant, or does not improve after following these instructions. However, you will have to stop and turn off the engine any time that the gauge shows the temperature nearing the red. You will have to allow the engine to cool down before driving any further.