Is It Safe to Drive With the Coolant Pressure Light On?

Your Coolant Pressure Light comes on when your engine is overheating due to insufficient coolant. So, can you drive safely with your Coolant Pressure Light on? The short answer is that it probably won’t get you killed, but it could mean death to your car engine. An overheated engine can cause incredible damage – failed head gaskets, damaged pistons and valve stems, and distortion or cracks in the cylinder heads.

If your Coolant Pressure Light comes on, what should you do?

  • First, pull over immediately and turn off your engine.

  • Check your coolant level, but don’t do it until your engine has cooled down. This usually takes about half an hour. If you remove the radiator cap or open the coolant reservoir before the engine has had a chance to cool sufficiently, the buildup of steam inside the cooling system could give you a very nasty burn.

  • If the level of coolant is low, a mixture of 50% distilled water and 50% antifreeze can be added. In warm temperatures and desperate situations, plain water will suffice to get you to the garage.

  • If your engine has overheated temporarily due to extremely hot weather, or because you have been hauling a heavy load, it may help to turn your heater on high and turn your air conditioning off. If the problem is due to low coolant, though, this will not likely help. Your Coolant Pressure Light could also come on because your radiator cooling fan is damaged, your radiator is clogged, you have a bad water pump, your serpentine belt has broken, or your catalytic converter has gotten plugged.

So, is there a safety issue? Well, if your vehicle stops suddenly on the highway due to sudden overheating, that could be dangerous. So, if your Coolant Pressure Light suddenly comes on, get to the side of the road as quickly as you can. If topping off the coolant is all that is needed to get to the garage, you can look to do it yourself or have a mechanic do it for you. But if the light is on, and the coolant is leaking significantly, don’t try to make it on your own, have a certified mechanic take a look at it for you.


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Matthew

9 years of experience
38 reviews
Matthew
9 years of experience
Mitsubishi Montero Sport V6-3.0L - Coolant is leaking - Denver, Colorado
As always. Matt is thorough and honest!! I hate it when I need him, but Matt is the ONLY mechanic I want messing with my car.
Mitsubishi Montero Sport - Coolant is leaking - Denver, Colorado
Matt is so awesome!! He came, pressure tested the cooling system, and found the leak, then fixed it. I was in a bind, and he really saved me. I would HIGHLY recommend MATT!!!!!!

Collins

12 years of experience
488 reviews
Collins
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox V6-3.0L - Coolant is leaking Inspection - Atlanta, Georgia
He was great. He informed me about the issues I had with my car even giving me suggests about what to do with it.
BMW 650i - Coolant is leaking - Woodstock, Georgia
Collins showed up as expected and accessed the issue I had with my car. I initially assumed it was my radiator, but after an inspection of my car is was found to be a hose that needed to be replaced. He was very thorough with his diagnosis and pinpointing the exact issue. I am fully pleased with his service and professionalism.

Raymond

27 years of experience
223 reviews
Raymond
27 years of experience
Mini Cooper L4-1.6L - Coolant is leaking - Victorville, California
Raymond was great! I didn't feel like his recommendations for other services are forced which I really appreciate. Will definitely use his services again!

Jose

12 years of experience
49 reviews
Jose
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Classic L4-2.2L - Coolant is leaking - Riverside, California
Jose provided extraordinary customer service. He explained the issues with my vehicle and was professional and polite.

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