What do I do if the engine in my Honda Civic overheats?
Overheating is a very serious situation. Too much heat could severely damage your engine. If the needle of your temperature gauge is pushing into the red, here’s what you need to do:
Find a safe place to pull over.
Put the car in park and set the parking brake.
Cut off all of your accessories, including the air conditioner if it’s running.
Turn on your hazard lights so you’re visible to other drivers.
Check to see if you see steam coming from under the hood (with the engine running).
If there’s no steam, open the hood. If there is steam, turn the engine off and wait for it to cool down.
If the engine is still running, make sure the cooling fan is on as well. If it’s not, turn the engine off.
Check to see if you can spot leaks from the hoses (if steam was visible) but don’t touch anything yet. It’s dangerously hot.
After the engine has cooled down completely, check the level of coolant in the reservoir. If it’s empty, you’ll also need to check the radiator. Vent the radiator cap to let out any built up pressure, and then remove the cap to check the level of coolant (do not do this if the engine is still hot).
If the radiator is low, top it off. Also top off the reservoir.
Replace all caps.
After refilling the coolant, crank the engine again. Let it run for a few minutes to see if the temperature gauge stays in the normal range. If it does, you can drive the car. If the gauge noses back into the red, cut the engine off and have the car towed.
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