| Car Life
Guy's car is overheating and he is stuck on the side of the road.

Did you know when it’s really hot outside, your car can suffer too? Gasp! Car lovers everywhere beware! Take some advice from Direct Auto Insurance’s beloved former race-car driver JJ Hightail, who although likes to turn up the heat on the road, always makes sure his prized possession is protected from high temperatures, so it doesn’t overheat. In fact, in addition to JJ’s fear of clowns, his worst fear is his car overheating!

Check out Direct’s tips to keep that baby purring year-round when temperatures are extremely hot.

Why is my car overheating?

There are other factors besides the summer heat that can cause your car to overheat. It could be that your cooling systems are not working properly. Inspect these four things after your engine is turned off and cooled down:

  1. Coolant: There could be a leak or it might be working properly.
  2. Thermostat: Regulates the coolant and could be malfunctioning.
  3. Oil: Helps remove heat and could be low.
  4. Radiator Fan: Regulates the fan and the cool air flow.

How do I know if my car is overheating?

A sure sign is usually smoke coming from your engine or the temperature gauge of your car hitting the red zone. If you’re driving, pull over safely to the side of the road. It’s best to put your car in neutral or park to rev the engine a bit if you’re in standstill traffic. If the traffic flow is stop-and-go, alternate between braking and accelerating. When you can, have an expert assess your vehicle any time the needle of the temperature gauge is in the red.

What do I do if my car overheats while I’m driving?

  1. Turn off your air conditioner because it causes the engine to work harder.
  2. If you don’t notice any difference, turn on the heat and let science work magic. While this might sound crazy, this process will help transfer heat away from the engine.
  3. If steps 1 and 2 don’t bring you any luck, turn your engine off and pop your hood without touching it directly with your hand.
  4. Once your engine has cooled down, check your coolant to see if you have sprung a leak. If you notice a drip under your car, the coolant tank could be leaking. Carry spare coolant to refill the radiator, but only AFTER it is completely cooled off. 

How can I prevent my car from overheating?

  1. Park in the shade
  2. Get tinted windows
  3. Block the sun with a sun shade
  4. Let the hot air escape
  5. Use your floor vents
  6. Make sure you have the A/C on instead of the re-circulation setting
  7. Check your engine coolant. If it’s low, top it off with antifreeze (Note: NEVER add coolant to a hot engine. Wait for the engine to cool first)
  8. Make sure your hoses are in good shape
  9. Change your oil regularly
  10. Check your fan, water system, hoses and belts
  11. Get your cooling system flushed
  12. Replace your battery

As always, JJ would agree that it’s best to consult with a professional shop or mechanic to make sure you ride is in tip-top shape. However, if you do your car overheats and you get stuck on the road, Direct’s Roadside Assistance program can help rescue you. Visit www.directauto.com for more information or call us at 1-877-463-4732 to speak with one of our friendly agents.

Related Information:

Simple & Free Ways To Keep Your Car Cooler This Summer

Common Summertime Car Problems & How to Avoid Them