If the temperature on your vehicle is in the red zone, it is getting hot, or your warning beeper goes off, pull over and turn it off immediately. If you see coolant leaking, smoke from under the hood or smell coolant (sweet syrup smell), pull over and turn it off immediately.
Whenever there is a leak or issue with your cooling system it should be fixed right away and not left to a later date. The temperature gauge on the dash of your vehicle gets its information from the coolant temperature sensor. This sensor is in the radiator or coolant reservoir, but if the coolant level is low, then it has nothing to measure and is inaccurate. If you have a coolant leak and are refilling the coolant regularly, you could be overheating your vehicle and not even know it.
When a vehicle is overheated you risk the potential of engine damage. The cylinder heads on today’s engines are aluminum and can warp from overheating and it can blow the cylinder head gasket in between the engine block and cylinder head(s). If coolant gets into oil passages it can cause lower end engine damage requiring replacement or rebuilding.
Get regular inspections and repairs when cooling system issues are still minor help to keep your vehicle from overheating. But if something fails and it starts to overheat, pull over, turn your vehicle off and call for a tow. It’s a lot less expensive for a tow bill, than for a head gasket repair or engine replacement due to overheating damage.
Karen Johnston, AUTO REPAIR INSIDER
All About Automotive, 139 NW 2nd Street, Gresham, OR 97030
Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing auto repair and auto maintenance in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.