Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

Coolant Temperature

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...

Related questions

Q: Coolant leaks inside of car

From the description provided about your Saturn, it appears that the source of your coolant leak is due to a failed heater core. The heater core is similar to a mini radiator and it sits right inside your Saturn’s dashboard....

Q: How do I check the engine oil?

Checking the engine oil is something that you should do with regularity, and always before you start a long drive. Here’s how you can check the oil. Turn off the vehicle and let it sit for at least 10...

Q: Coolant light is on almost always

If you have the GS model, that means you have the supercharged version of the 3.8L engine. The naturally aspirated 3.8L has problems with the intake gasket leaking, which results in coolant/oil intermix. However, the supercharged version is not as...