Muirs Radiators

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What to do in case of Engine Overheating - 23rd Apr 2018

What to do in case of Engine Overheating When did you last lift the bonnet to check your engine’s coolant level?

When did you check the rubber hoses for leaks

These are just two things that you could do to help prevent your engine from overheating.

Your car’s cooling system is your engine’s front line of defense when it comes to the ongoing battle against overheating. If you maintain your car’s cooling system and take a few other preventative measures, you’re ensuring that your engine won’t experience the added stress of operating under extreme high temperatures.

However, in case of engine overheating, there’s a number of things you can do to ensure your safety.

  • Turn off your air conditioning: This is the very first thing you need to do as soon as you suspect that your car’s engine is overheating. Air-conditioning puts a load on the engine that you want to avoid in this situation.
  • Pull over and turn off your engine: Find a safe place to stop, pull over and turn off the engine immediately. Do not idle the engine while you’re collecting your thoughts. Engines have to work harder to keep cool at idle than at cruising speed, and the last thing you want to do is add stress to a potentially overheating engine.
  • Take caution when opening the bonnet: Remember to let the engine cool down before proceeding and only open the bonnet fully when you are confident that it’s safe to do so.
  • Check coolant levels: Your engine should have a coolant reservoir near the radiator (see your owner’s manual for the exact location). This is usually made of plastic and unlikely to be dangerously hot. Check the coolant level in this reservoir. If it’s normal, you’re in luck—chances are you’ve just got a malfunctioning temperature gauge. As long as there are no other signs of overheating, you can restart the engine and proceed with caution. If it’s low or empty, however, there’s probably a coolant leak somewhere and we strongly advise calling roadside assistance, though the more mechanically inclined might first inspect the radiator hoses for loose clamps and such. Things can get out of control quickly if you don’t know what to do when your vehicle’s temperature rises.
  • If you need to keep driving… Wait until you’re certain the engine is cool, protect your hand with a thick glove or rag, and twist off the radiator cap. Coolant is normally visible just below where the cap sits (your owner’s manual will have the details), but if your engine’s overheating, the coolant in your radiator should be visibly depleted. Be sure to refill both the radiator and the reservoir, ideally using the correct mix of coolant and water if available, otherwise just use water. This should bring the temperature down once you’re underway, but remember, you’ve got a serious leak somewhere, so be vigilant. If the temperature starts rising again, you’ll have to pull over and repeat the process.
Please note – this is not a long-term solution—your engine needs professional help, so get your ADRAD radiator specialist to check things out as soon as you can.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for information only and should not be followed without taking the advice of an onsite radiator specialist.

For this and more information on how to find your local radiator specialist and Adrad Agent then please visit

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