Overheated engine – what to do?

The temperature display goes into the red area while driving? That’s always worrying. It doesn’t matter whether you’re driving to a business appointment or on a Sunday trip – such a breakdown never comes in handy. There is also uncertainty about the cause. If you do not act properly, expensive damage up to total engine damage can be the result. What to do in this case and how to get to the nearest workshop as quickly and safely as possible is easily explained.


Overheated engine: immediate measures

First of all, you just don’t want the engine to suffer permanent damage. To do this, the speed must be reduced to a low level – ideally around 40 km/h. The goal is to bring the indicator needle to a stable position. By reducing the speed, the combustion engine is less stressed, the performance is throttled and the cooling may get just the little breathing space it needs. However, just to be on the safe side, contact the nearest workshop or drive there.

Stop completely, turn up the ventilation

If the temperature gauge needle does not return to the green zone after these measures, it is time for you to pull over to the nearest emergency lane and stop immediately. Turn off the engine. Roll to a safe stop without further straining the car. Turn the heater and associated fan to maximum to allow the motor to cool down. (This transports at least some of the waste heat away from the engine). The resulting heat in the driving area cannot be avoided in the short term – but it may help to prevent possible engine damage.

cooling and protection

Once safely stopped, carefully open the hood and allow everything to cool. Be careful, however, to avoid rain or cool water coming into contact with the motor. The temperature difference could cause cracks in the material and irreparable damage. It is also not advisable to start the car again. Because you risk a final total loss – and the capital required for a new car. The breakdown service and a quick transfer of information to the car insurance company avoid costs and prove to be the cheaper option in this case.

On the trail of the cause

Professionals rectify the cause of the overheating in the workshop quickly and safely, just like during a pit stop in motorsport. After the car has completely cooled down, the cooling system on the lifting platform is checked for leaks. Cracked or leaking hoses are the most common causes of overheating. This damage has the advantage of being easily and relatively cheaply repaired. A defect in the electrical system or in the power supply is also quickly remedied. Replacing smaller parts such as a defective switch, fuse or thermostat is cheap and quick. However, a new fan can be more expensive.

Possible in advance

To ensure that none of this happens in the first place, ongoing maintenance of the cooling system is necessary. Most manufacturers check this anyway as part of a warranty check offered at certain intervals. All possible problem parts from the carburetor to the cylinder head gasket are examined in detail during these checks. Professional garages also offer this service themselves, especially for older vehicles that are more prone to such problems.

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