Note that most cars require a 50/50 mix of coolant with water to prevent overheating, so you won’t be able to drive indefinitely with nothing but water. If you don’t have coolant on hand when your car overheats, make sure to add a comparable amount of coolant as soon as possible.
Cars overheat most often in very hot weather. It’s rare with modern vehicles, but even a well-tuned automobile can overheat. If you find yourself in stop-and-go traffic or climbing a steep grade on an extremely hot day, and your dashboard temperature indicator starts to rise or a malfunction ...
If your car overheats, do not drive more than a quarter mile. Have it towed to avoid further damage to the engine. However, if there is no experienced mechanic or tow truck nearby, follow these simple steps: Pull over to a safe location and turn off the engine.
If your car is overheating at low vehicle speeds only (i.e. in the city), there’s a decent chance you’ve got an airflow issue (because there’s little ram air going through the radiator at low vehicle speeds), so visually check that your car’s fans are cutting on. If you’ve got a mechanical fan, you need check to make sure your fan clutch is actuating. The video above shows how you can do that.
Adding coolant does nothing to address the problem that caused your engine to overheat in the first place, but it often allows you to drive safely to the nearest repair station. “A professional will need to inspect your car’s cooling system,” says Reina. While driving, keep an eye on the temperature gauge. And take notice of everything, like fluid under the car or steam under the hood. “This basic information will greatly help in the diagnosis,” Reina explains.
If you don't have enough coolant in there to do the job, heat will build up and your engine will overheat. No amount of running the heater in the summer will help if you don't have enough coolant in the radiator to transfer the heat.
An overheated car is unsafe and can result in serious damage. Learn what can cause a car to overheat and 11 ways you can help prevent it from happening. Learn what can cause a car to overheat and 11 ways you can help prevent it from happening.