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
Icon-warranty_badge-02

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

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.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...


Related questions

Q: Changed bypass hose now engine overheats

Hello there, a few common faults will result in your 2003 Hyundai overheating after the bypass hose was replaced. The most common would be air trapped in the coolant system. This is common after repairs have been performed if the...

Q: How do I move the head restraints?

You may want to adjust the head restraint on a seat to make it more comfortable. To pull the restraints up, all you have to do is pull on it. To push the restraint back down, hold the Lock...

Q: Thermostat is not reading the temperature of the vehicle and doesn't allow the A/C to work because of this. 2006 Chevy Impala

Hi there - it sounds like there is still a coolant leak independent of the radiator which needs attention. It is also possible that there is an air bubble in the engine which may need to be bled (air bubbles...