If you think you have problems with getting heated and blowing up at people, imagine what a 2-ton car would do if it lost its cool. If your engine overheats, it could quite literally blow its top.
Watch for Warning Signs
Your biggest warning that your engine is going supercharged is your temperature gauge. Keep an eye on it, particularly if you’re driving in heavy traffic, hot weather, or giving your engine a heavy task.
Normal engine operating temperatures range from 195 to 200 degrees. If your engine starts going over that consistently, your engine is overheating and in danger of serious malfunctions.
What Happens to an Overheated Engine?
The first problem in an overheating engine is that too high temperatures may cause misfiring in your engine, with fuel combusting in all the wrong places.
If the temperature gets even higher, rubber and plastic may start to soften, crack, or bend. With parts going out of place or out of form, your engine may start to malfunction.
In really bad engine conditions, when the heat is really on in your engine compartment, the metal parts of your engine could soften, warp, and stress.
Keep Your Engine Cool
If your engine is experiencing rising temperatures, there are a few things you can do. First and foremost, pull over and stop your car. Check your coolant levels and, if you need to, top them off. Open the hood of your car to let the air cool your overheated engine.
Do not – I repeat, do not – open the radiator cap. That thing is under pressure, and if it doesn’t get you, the steam and radiator fluid it’s keeping contained will burn your face. Or otherwise really hurt.
Calling for help is a good option. Get a tow truck or find a garage quickly, so a mechanic can tell you what’s going on before you end up on the side of the road with an exploded engine, fanning steam away from the remains of your car.
If you need to continue driving, take it slowly. Avoid stop-and-go traffic, and turn off your air conditioning. If you really want to vent air away from your engine, turn your heater on full-blast. This will draw off the engine’s heat, although it does have the unfortunate side effect of blasting you in the face. You can turn them out the window to make it a bit easier on you.
Hopefully you don’t need this information, but in the event that your car does overheat, be prepared to take care of it safely.