Engine overheating: what to do if the car engine is overheated

What are the signs of an overheated engine?

Überhitzter Motor: Er kann zu schweren Schäden führen. Deshalb sollte man die Warnsignale beachten.Überhitzter Motor: Er kann zu schweren Schäden führen. Deshalb sollte man die Warnsignale beachten.

Overheated engine: It can cause serious damage. Therefore, one should heed the warning signs. (Source: Panthermedia/imago-images-pictures)

Too much heat, too Little fresh air: If the water temperature indicator suddenly lights up red on the display, the time has come – the engine is about to overheat. Now you should react quickly to prevent engine damage.

What to do if the engine is overheated do?

First step: turn the heating up full blast. It conducts the waste heat from the engine into the interior of the car. By warming the passengers, it cools the engine. Of course, you should also turn off the air conditioning.

At the next safe opportunity, stop at the curb, at a gas station, or at a rest area. Turn off the engine. Very important: You must then activate the ignition. As a result, ventilation and cooling circuits remain in operation. Open the bonnet so that the accumulated heat can dissipate.

After that, keep your distance from the engine. If a hose should burst, you risk burns. For this reason, you should never open the cooling water tank.

Never pour water on the engine

It can sometimes take several hours for the engine to cool down properly. Only then can you top up the coolant (tap water if necessary). If you don’t wait long enough and douse the hot engine with cold water, you won’t do the car any good. On the contrary: Because of the high temperature difference, the engine may crack.

Continue driving or call a towing service?

The engine has cooled down, new coolant has been refilled – now the journey can continue. First of all, you should keep an eye on the water temperature display. If the temperature stays constant, the problem should be resolved. But if it rises again, you should head for a workshop or call the breakdown service. Then there may be a bigger problem.

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