If the Engine Overheats

The reading of the vehicle’s temperature gauge should stay in the midrange. If it climbs to the red mark, you should determine the reason (hot day, driving up a steep hill, etc.).

If the vehicle overheats, you should take immediate action. The only indication may be the temperature gauge climbing to or above the red mark. Or you may see steam or spray coming from under the hood.

Driving with the temperature gauge


Driving with the temperature gauge reading at the red mark can cause serious damage to the engine.

Steam and spray from an


Steam and spray from an overheated engine can seriously scald you.

Do not open the hood if steam is coming out.

1. Safely pull to the side of the road.

Put the transmission in Park, and set the parking brake. Turn off all the accessories, and turn on the hazard warning lights.

2. If you see steam and/or spray coming from under the hood, turn off the engine. Wait until you see no more signs of steam or spray, then open the hood.

3. If you do not see steam or spray, leave the engine running, and watch the temperature gauge. If the high heat is due to overloading, the engine should start to cool down almost immediately. If it does, wait until the temperature gauge reading comes down to the midpoint, then continue driving.

4. If the temperature gauge reading stays at the red mark, turn off the engine.

5. Look for any obvious coolant leaks, such as a split radiator hose.

Everything is still extremely hot, so use caution. If you find a leak, it must be repaired before you continue driving (see Emergency Towing.

6. If you don’t find an obvious leak, check the coolant level in the radiator reserve tank. Add coolant if the level is below the MIN mark.

7. If there was no coolant in the reserve tank, you may need to add coolant to the radiator. Let the engine cool down until the reading reaches the middle of the temperature gauge or lower before checking the radiator.

Removing the radiator cap


Removing the radiator cap while the engine is hot can cause the coolant to spray out, seriously scalding you.

Always let the engine and radiator cool down before removing the radiator cap.

8. Using gloves or a large heavy cloth, turn the radiator cap counterclockwise, without pushing down, to the first stop. After the pressure releases, push down on the cap, and turn it until it comes off.

9. Start the engine, and set the temperature to maximum heat (climate control to AUTO at ‘‘radiator up to the base of the filler’’). Add coolant to the
radiator up to the base of the filler neck. If you do not have the proper coolant mixture available, you can add plain water.

Remember to have the cooling system drained and refilled with the proper mixture as soon as you can.

10. Put the radiator cap back on tightly. Run the engine, and check the temperature gauge. If it goes back to the red mark, the engine needs repair (see Emergency Towing).

11. If the temperature stays normal, check the coolant level in the radiator reserve tank. If it has gone down, add coolant to the MAX mark. Put the cap back on tightly.

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