Safety & Accident

Fleet Safety Video Tip: Dealing With Engine Overheating

May 19, 2014

VIDEO: How to Respond to Engine Overheating

Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner, ushering in the unofficial beginning of the summer season. Last week some cities, including Phoenix and Los Angeles, experienced triple-digit temperatures. Unfortunately, higher temperatures place vehicle engines at a higher risk of overheating, especially if there have been lapses in routine vehicle maintenance.

Here’s some advice from the National Safety Council on what to do when a car’s engine overheats. You may want to pass these tips along to your drivers as a friendly reminder. 

  • If your car overheats, do not drive more than a quarter mile.
  • Have the vehicle towed to avoid further damage to the engine.

But if there is no experienced mechanic or tow truck nearby, or if there is no cellphone coverage to call for help, here are some steps you can take:

  • Pull over to a safe location and turn off the engine.
  • Do not open the hood until the car has completely cooledor the temperature gauge has moved from hot to cool.
  • Check the coolant (also called antifreeze) level in the radiator. Look in the owner’s manual if you are unsure where the coolant reservoir tank is.
  • Make sure the radiator cap is cool before opening it. Slowly twist it off with a towel and beware of any hot steam. If needed, fill coolant to the top of the radiator. Put the radiator cap back on.
  • Be sure the upper or lower radiator hose and any of the heater hoses have not been blocked, disconnected or burst.
  • Restart the engine.
  • Carefully monitor the temperature gauge. If you see it crossing the optimal mark, pull over to a safe location and turn the engine off.

While your best bet is to get help from a mechanic, your safest bet is to be prepared. Store these essential items in you car: Coolant, tool kit, working flashlight, towel, non-perishable foods and water.

To watch a video on the subject, featuring Dr. William Van Tassel of AAA, click on the photo or link above, right under the headline. He offers more tips on how to respond to engine overheating.

To watch another video offering summertime car maintenance tips, click on the link or photo below.

VIDEO: Protect Your Car From Hot Weather

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Recent Topics

I am in the early stages of creating a central fleet maintenance department. Would anyone be willing to share an org chart for their...

View Topic

Has anyone experienced any negative results from using the Valvoline Crimson automotive grease? I'm trying to decide whether or not to...

View Topic

Fleet Documents

974 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Sponsored by

Richard Catino was the U.S. fleet manager for Digital Equipment Corp. in Maynard, MA.

Read more