Nothing gets a driver’s attention and raises anxiety quite like noticing the engine temperature gauge rising on the dash panel. Or, at least it should! Do not ignore this important signal from your vehicle. In some models, a red light will illuminate or flash indicating engine overheating. If you see this light come on or the gauge rising, pull over immediately, shut the car off and have it towed to the repair facility. Do not drive the vehicle one block further (even if you have allowed it to cool) until it has been repaired because you will risk damaging the engine likely causing serious, extensive damage.

What Causes an Overheating Engine?

An overheating engine can be caused by anything that decreases the cooling system’s ability to function to properly to absorb, transport, and dissipate heat buildup. Here are some issues that may cause the engine to overheat:

  •  Blocked Coolant Passages
  •  Cooling System Leaks
  •  Faulty Radiator/Water Pump
  •  Bad Thermostat/Radiator Fan
  •  Worn/Broken Hoses
  •  Loose or Broken Belt
  •  Low Oil Level

Stop Your Car!

If driving down the road and your vehicle shows any sign of engine overheating you should immediately find a safe place to pull over, turn off the engine and call for emergency roadside service. Overheating is a serious mechanical issue and can cause catastrophic engine failure if allowed to continue.  Your engine can actually crack if allowed to overheat!  For this reason, it is extremely important to not delay pulling over.

If there is not a safe place to immediately pull over here are a few tips you can try while looking for a safe place:

  1.  Turn the air conditioning off. This will decrease the load on the engine.
  2.  Turn on the cabin heater and turn the fan to the high position. This transfers heat from the engine into the passenger compartment of the vehicle. This may be a little uncomfortable but it can help prevent damage to your engine for a short while.
  3.  If stopped in traffic and you still can’t pull over, try shifting into neutral or park, and rev the engine a bit. This makes the water pump and the fan speed up, which sends more air and liquid through the radiator, which helps cool things off.
  4.  At your first opportunity, in a safe place, pull over, shut the engine off, call for emergency roadside service and have your vehicle towed to the repair facility of your choice.

What if I Have a Vehicle Warranty?

So, remember, if you find yourself in this situation, remain calm, pull over at your first safe opportunity, turn off the engine and call for emergency roadside service. If you follow the advice in this article, you most likely will not incur serious damage to your engine from overheating. However, one or more components failed that caused your vehicle to overheat in the first place. The failure must be diagnosed and repaired.

A Vehicle Protection Plan (VPP) from autopom! can be extremely helpful in this situation by providing emergency roadside services.  In addition, it will pay for the repair of any covered component that caused the problem such as a failed water pump, thermostat or radiator fan motor.  However, a VPP will not pay for damage to the engine caused by a driver that ignored the warning signals and continued driving the vehicle.

A VPP from autopom! can minimize the pain and inconvenience of an overheating engine or any unexpected mechanical or electrical failure of your vehicle. autopom!’s plans provide automotive peace of mind all year long and are accepted nationwide and you can choose the repair facility. Call us for a FREE quote today (800) 724-8141 or click here to submit a request for a quote!

Important Note: Most warranties, extended warranties, vehicle service contracts, vehicle protection plans, and mechanical breakdown insurance will not cover damage to engines caused by engine overheating! The reason for this is that the typical cause of engine damage due to overheating is because the driver ignored the warning signals and continued driving the vehicle until it was too late.