What to Do When Your Car Overheats in Arizona 

October 26, 2022
woman standing next to car with hood up as its overheating

If you notice your car’s temperature gauge creeping into the red zone, don’t panic. An overheating car is a common problem, and it may be something you can fix yourself. Most importantly, be prepared with the right tools and keep your cool. Keep reading to learn the signs of your car overheating and how to protect your vehicle with Arizona car insurance

What Happens When Your Engine Overheats? 

Depending on what’s causing your car to overheat, you might see a few different signs that something is wrong. Those signals can depend on why the engine is overheating, so you may not see all of them right away. Signs that your engine is overheating include: 

  • Engine steaming 
  • Engine temperature gauge rising 
  • Front of your vehicle emitting a smell 
  • Engine warning light turning on 

The temperature gauge needle should sit near the middle of the line. If it hits the red zone or the H at the top of the gauge, your engine is overheating. The smell coming from the engine can give you a clue about the cause of the issue. A burning odor can mean a likely oil leak, while a sweet smell may mean your car is losing coolant. 

You won’t necessarily see all these signs when your engine begins to overheat, so don’t wait to take care of it. An overheating vehicle isn’t something you can ignore without risking engine damage and harm to you and your vehicle. 

Why Is Your Engine Overheating in Arizona? 

An overheated engine in Arizona can happen for many reasons, and the fix for each issue is different. Stopping the problem can be as simple as adding oil or coolant, but you shouldn’t let the issue go unchecked. Overheating is a sign that heat can’t leave the engine as it’s designed to and can happen due to: 

  • Blocked engine components 
  • Broken water hose 
  • Clogged coolant hose 
  • Leaking gaskets, hoses, or pumps 
  • Hot weather conditions 
  • Other stressors on the car’s cooling system 

You may not be able to diagnose the cause of the problem on the spot. Hot Arizona summers and stop-and-go traffic pose a danger not only to your passengers but to your vehicle itself. Your car may overheat suddenly, but if you have a gradual leak in your car, it can take time before you realize what’s happening. 

How to Stop Your Car from Overheating While Driving in AZ 

If your car has a tendency to overheat in Arizona, you can be prepared by keeping coolant, motor oil, heavy gloves, and a towel in your vehicle. Having the tools on hand to fix potential car trouble can help make a stressful situation more manageable. 

Turn On the Heat Inside to Take the Pressure Off the Overheated Engine 

It might sound like turning on the heat would make overheating worse, but it takes some strain off the car’s cooling system. Turning on the heater pulls heat into the car, taking it away from the engine. Sometimes, this is enough to fix the problem on its own, but watch the car’s temperature gauge to see if the needle goes down or if the check engine light turns off. 

Pull Over and Wait for Your Car to Cool Down 

If your engine doesn’t start cooling off with the heat on, it’s time to pull over and take a closer look. Turn the engine off and wait at least 15 minutes before you open the hood. Don’t open your hood until it’s cool to the touch. Opening it while the engine is still hot puts you at risk of burns, and you could get sprayed with hot steam. Plus, leaking fluids from the engine, including coolant, can reach well over 200 degrees when you live in Arizona

woman standing next to car overheating with hood up

Check Your Coolant and Oil Levels Once Your Car Has Cooled Off 

Once your engine has cooled down, open the hood. Use a pair of heavy gloves and place a towel over the radiator cap. Then, slowly open the radiator cap to avoid getting burned by the steam as it releases pressure from the overheated coolant. Check your car’s coolant levels. If they are low, add more until it reaches the full line in the tank. Check your oil, too, and make sure the level falls within the safe range. If it’s low, add more. 

While you do this, check for any leaks. You may not notice a small, gradual leak with a quick look, but a larger one may show coolant or oil on the ground. A significant leak may mean that you can’t drive your car and might need to get it towed to a service station. 

Restart Your Engine to Make Sure Your Engine is OK 

After you’ve refilled your coolant or oil, restart your car’s engine. Pay attention to the temperature gauge and check engine light to see whether the engine starts to overheat again or if the light doesn’t turn off. If you start driving and notice the engine getting too hot again, pull over again and let it cool. Then, drive it to a service station to get it checked by a professional. 

Get Your Car Serviced in Arizona to Stop Overheating Problems 

Keep an eye on your temperature gauge and other signs of overheating after you restart the engine. If it overheats right away, you may need to get it towed to an Arizona service center so they can diagnose the problem. Getting your car serviced is also one of the easiest ways to prevent overheating and other issues from happening at all. Car maintenance is cheaper than paying to fix the problem after it happens, so be aware of any potential issues your car has, get regular oil changes, and keep track of coolant and other fluids in your car. 

Find Cheap Arizona Car Insurance Today 

Keep your car running smoothly with affordable car insurance in Arizona from Oasis. We’ll work with you to find a policy that meets your needs and takes care of you when unexpected events happen on the road. You can get a fast car insurance quote online, call us at 800-330-5190, or visit one of our local offices.  

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