It’s important to keep an eye on your temperature gauge, because when you’re overheating it can mean serious trouble for your engine. Knowing what to do when your engine overheats can save your car and you from a dangerous situation.
The first thing to do when you notice your engine is overheating is to turn off the air conditioning and turn on the heater so you can direct heat away from the engine. This may start to cool your car down immediately, but to be safe you should pull over whenever it’s safe and turn off your engine.
You’ll want to look under the hood next, but if you have to open it manually you should wait until the car has cooled down first to avoid burning yourself. Hopefully you keep coolant in your car, but if you don’t, pouring in some water—not cold—can keep you going until you get to a shop to buy some.
If the coolant tank is full, call a tow truck! The problem could be one of several electrical or mechanical malfunctions, and you’ll want a pro to check it out.