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How Far Can You Drive An Overheating Car?

Overheating is a severe problem and can make you have expensive repairs especially if you neglect it for a long while. It can be because of several different issues and as you continue to drive, you risk making further damage to your car. When overheating occurs, you need to know how far can you drive an overheating car before you stop and take it to the mechanic. After you notice that the vehicle is overheating, you can park and check first to ensure you can do a quick check-up to know the cause. If you ignore overheating, you may end up needing a whole engine overhaul. This is why you need to know how long it will take to cause serious damage to your engine. Read on as we expound more.

How To Treat Your Overheating Car?

If your car overheats, you need to know that you can damage your car if you continue driving. Although, there is no precise number of miles that you need to drive before the car gets seriously damaged. The moment you notice overheating for whatever reasons, you need to have it checked as fast as possible. You may be able to hit 20 or 10 miles and the car can shut off.

The following are things to do when you notice overheating:

  • If you are on the highway, you should find a place to pull over so that you can attend to the overheating engine.
  • If you see steam coming from the engine pull over and shut off the car
  • After you pull over wait for the engine to cool off before you do anything else. Pop and raise the hood so that the air can circulate in the engine and cool it faster.
  • Turn off the car AC if it was on and then turn on the heater. This may reduce the heat that is occurring from the engine bay to the driver or passenger area.
  • Activate the driver assistant if you have a car that supports this technology.
  • You can also park the car and wait for 20 to 30 minutes for the engine to cool down before getting back on the road if you need to continue driving.
  • Use a towel or rag to open the coolant jug. Check the coolant levels because extreme pressure can cause overheating. This is a jug-looking container near the radiator but if you can’t find it, you should check the manual for the coolant tank.
  • Add fluids to the radiator until it is full. This can be a mix of equal parts of water and antifreeze. Just water will work if the temperatures are above freezing but when the temperature is low, add just water.

If the problem is not the fluid levels, you might not be able to do anything by the roadside to take care of the problem. Let the engine cool and then drive to the nearest auto shop to have your car checked and repaired.

Ensure that you get the car checked out as soon as you can because you need to take care of the problem before it becomes worse. Take your car to the mechanic so that they can repair or replace what is broken in the car.

Damages Caused By Overheating

Overheating can cause serious damages to your car if you do not take care of the problem as soon as possible. When you are driving and you notice your car overheating, you should check on it and act as soon as you can. Overheating can cause any of the following problems:

  • Coolant leaks
  • Pump or valve damages
  • Engine damage
  • Radiator problems

These and many more issues can be the cause of overheating and it can lead to further damage if you do not check it. You should therefore take your time to get your car checked after you notice the slightest sign of overheating.

If you continue driving a car that is overheating, you will have many other car problems. You risk your car burning down because the engine might burst into flames. If you notice that the car is overheating, you need to do all you can to take care of the problem early and avoid expensive repairs and replacements.

How To Tell If Your Engine Is Overheating?

You can easily tell that your engine is overheating because the temperature gauge will move from the normal side to the high side. This means that the engine bay is getting too hot and you need to check it out as soon as you can. Apart from that, you can also notice smoke coming from the bonnet. If you do not look for a solution soon enough, your car can shut off. There are also some cases of engines bursting into flames if you do not check the overheating as soon as possible.

How Far Can You Drive An Overheating Car

If you have been driving for a while, you need to find a place to pull over so that you can check on the engine. You can open the bonnet so that your car cools downs, and after that, you can drive up to 20 miles and find a mechanic to check it out. The following signs will show you that your car is overheating:

  • Steam or smoke coming out from the engine
  • The temperature gauge on the dashboard will get from the low side to the H which is red. The gauge symbols are different for any car and you need to consult the manual in case you do not understand some of the symbols.
  • There might be a strange smell coming from the engine area. This can be because the coolant is leaking.
  • In some cases, the engine might catch fire while you are driving. This is when the problem becomes extreme.

If you ignore any of the warning signs, you will risk your engine completely shutting down. You may have to replace the whole engine if you do not repair what is making it overheat.

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Why Engines Overheat?

Several reasons may cause your car engine to overheat. It might be because there is a problem with the cooling system and the heat is not able to leave the engine compartment. The source of the issue can be anything from a faulty radiator, broken water pump, clogged coolant hose, faulty radiator fan, coolant system leak, and many others.

No matter the source of the problem, overheating is not something you want to ignore. This is because it can lead to serious damages that will be expensive to repair. If you can take care of the engine before it overheats, you can prevent it from falling.

An engine can overheat because of a faulty cooling fan or fan belt and you need to find a solution. If you do not take care of the overheating problem, you might risk other electrical problems to your car. You mustn’t drive for too long when you notice overheating.

How To Prevent Car Overheating?

Although sometimes, you may not know what to do, there are some things you can do to prevent overheating. This begins with regular car maintenance and service to ensure that any issue is detected early enough. Here are some tips to help you prevent your car from overheating:

  1. Check any leaking parts every morning before you leave the house with your car and steam the car every morning.
  2. Check the coolant reservoir and fill it with coolant to the level that is required
  3. Check the radiator fan and ensure that it is spinning
  4. Check the thermostat valve and the water pump to ensure that they are working well.
  5. A regular visit to the mechanic for tune-ups is also beneficial because they will find out any issue
  6. Have a jug of water in your car in case you need to refill the radiator before you get to a gas station or an auto shop.

The number of miles that you can drive an overheating car is a concern for many people. This is because it may cause expensive and fatal damages to your car. If you allow the overheating to go on for a long time, your car will get serious engine damages if you keep driving.

Even though you already have the tips you can do to prevent overheating, you still need to make routine visits to the auto shop to get your vehicle serviced. This is because an experienced technician will note a looming problem before it causes more damage to your car. It is okay even if you skip some scheduled service with your mechanic but you need to go for routine service as soon as you can. You do not want to get caught by surprise on a busy road because you did not get your car serviced. 

If you are asking, how far can you drive an overheating car? You need to ensure that you do all you can to prevent damages. This is because an overheating engine can cause irreplaceable destruction to your vehicle.

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What To Avoid When Your Car Overheats?

Many people will start to panic when their car overheats and it is important to find a way to take care of your overheating car. Here are some tips to help you when your car overheats while on the road:

  • Do Not Panic

If you notice that the temperature in your engine is getting too high, you will see the warning signs. You mustn’t panic and continue to keep calm while on the road. If you panic, you might slam the breaks and this can cause an accident. Pullover on the side of the road so that you can check the issue.

  • Do Not Drive For A Long Time

As soon as you notice the symptoms of your engine overheating, you need to stop driving. You can drive for probably 10 miles to find an auto shop to have the engine checked. Before you do this, find a place to pull over and let the engine cool off. You can also open the hood so that it cools faster and you can check what is wrong with the engine. If you drive for too long while the car is overheating, you risk further damage to your engine.

  • Don’t Open The Hood Immediately

After you pull over, you need to wait for a while before you open the hood of your car. This is because you can get injuries and burns from the hot steam coming from the engine. Wait for a while until the temperature gauge settles and then you can open the hood. Protect your hands with a rag or towel when you are checking the coolant levels because the parts may be too hot.

  • Don’t Let The Issue Linger

Sometimes overheating problems are not severe, and you can easily solve them by adding water to the radiator. It is however important that you do not let the problem linger for a long time because you risk further damage to your car. You need to save your engine before you get the time to go to the mechanic. They will find out the issue and repair the problem so that it will not get worse. Regular checkups will help show you the problems that you may face in the future. You can have them taken care of before the problem becomes worse and cause further damages to your car.


There are many reasons why your car may be overheating, and this is why you need to take care of your engine problem as fast as you can. Many people ask the question, how far can you drive an overheating car? It is important to note that you need to have your engine checked as soon as possible. Regular checkup keeps you up to date with anything that might affect your car as you drive and you can do any necessary repairs before they get worse. 

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