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Whenever you are out on the road, your car is at risk of overheating. You could experience car overheating in traffic jams or during idle. In some cases, a car overheating can turn the check engine light on, but this isn’t always what happens. If you notice the temperature rising, take these steps to stop the process in its tracks.


Turn off the AC

Car overheating with the AC on is more likely than experiencing this problem when it’s off. This is because all the cool air is pulled away from the engine to keep the interior cool. One of the fastest ways to reverse overheating is to turn the heat on instead. It may be uncomfortable but can eliminate a serious problem.

Don’t Keep Driving

If turning the heat on doesn’t work, put your overheating car in park. When your car is overheating in the summer or even any other time of the year, it is important to pull over. Never keep driving, especially if you notice any amount of steam coming from under the hood. This can lead to serious car overheating effects and major repair bills. When you pull over, turn off the engine to let it cool. 

Check the Coolant

When the car is overheating, coolant disappearing may be the problem. This is especially true when your car is overheating in idle. If the levels are low, adding some coolant can be the solution you need to avoid overheating in the future. In a pinch, you can add water, but it won’t provide the same protection as coolant. It is important to replace the water with coolant as soon as possible.

Avoid Traffic

Driving your car in low gears for long periods of time can also be the explanation for a car overheating in traffic only. If you must continue driving after your car has overheated, make sure you drive carefully and avoid traffic so you don’t keep the car in the lower gears. As you drive, keep an eye on the gauges and stop if the engine temperature rises again. Most importantly, take your car to a mechanic right away.

A car overheating in the summer is the most common time of the year for this problem. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what they should do when the situation arises. Following these simple steps can help you remedy the overheating so you can get your car to the mechanic. After you have experienced an overheating episode, don’t wait; schedule an appointment with a mechanic to check for serious issues as soon as possible.


If your car is overheating during any conditions, contact us. One of our New Jersey mechanics is happy to check your engine and help you avoid overheating in the future.

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Bill DeBoer

Written by Bill DeBoer

William J. DeBoer (Bill Jr.) is Co-owner and Vice President at DeBoer’s Auto. As the company’s General Manager, Bill has been responsible for bringing innovations in daily operations to the full-service, high-tech auto repair facility for 20+ years. Passionate about computers from an early age, Bill’s interest in technology gravitated to cars while he was in college. By obtaining a Certificate in Automotive Technology followed by a B.S. in Business Management from Penn State, Bill was able to fuse his interests into a car technology specialization and join the family business shortly thereafter.