Q: Car got hot and died

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My temperature gauge went to all the way hot, and then my car just shut off.

Hi. The car shuts off to protect itself as significant damage can occur without the proper amount of cooling. The first thing to check is make sure you have enough coolant. There may be 4 different lines on the tank, hot full, hot low, cold full, and cold low. The temperature refers to engine temperature not the temperature of the air. So if the car was just driven, make sure the level is above the "hot low" line. If the level is in between the low and full the car is ok to drive for short distances, but you should fill it all the way. Be sure to let the engine cool down before adding coolant. If the level is below the low line, I would not recommend driving the vehicle until coolant is added. One thing to note is that you should never have to add coolant to a vehicle so there is most likely a leak if you are low on coolant. It is possible for internal leaks to occur which would not leave a puddle underneath the car and can be difficult to locate. A certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, would be able to help you diagnose the cause of the overheating problem.

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