It is very rare for modern vehicles to overheat, most often this will happen in very slow stop / start conditions or in very hot weather, to be on the safe side you should always keep a bottle of coolant and bottle water in your boot for emergencies.
All drivers should keep a close eye on the instrument panel, if you notice that your temperature gauge is rising beyond the normal mark and heading for the hot section or if you see steam coming from under the bonnet turn off your air conditioning and stop as soon as it is safe to do so. If you cannot stop straight away turn your heater on full temperature and your fan to the highest setting as this will disperse heat from your engine into your vehicle making your engine much cooler.
When you do stop make sure it is in a safe place, open your bonnet and allow the steam to escape, do not unscrew the radiator cap as firstly it will be very hot and will burn your hand and secondly the high pressure will release a mixture of radiator fluid and steam.
Once your vehicle has cooled down remove the cap from your coolant reservoir tank and top up the full mark with the correct coolant as recommended in your manufacturers hand book. Do a thorough visual check to see if any of your cylinder head is the culprit or if it is your hoses or connectors that are leaking, if they are call a specialist garage such as A1 Clutches to book your vehicle in for an inspection and replacement of the faulty parts. At this point you must decide if you can continue your journey or if you need to have your vehicle recovered to a garage, be aware that if you choose to carry on your journey you can do serious harm to your engine. If you do continue your journey keep a close eye on your temperature gauge.
Below are the 6 key steps to follow if your engine starts to overheat:
- Stop in a safe place and turn the engine off
- Never take off the radiator cap
- Let the engine cool off before you do anything
- Refill antifreeze / coolant
- Check hoses for leaks, blockages or bursts
- Carefully monitor the temperature gauge when you continue your journey