Q: What do I do if the temperature gauge moves into the red?

asked by on December 15, 2015

What do I do if the temperature gauge moves into the red?

Your Accord is equipped with a temperature gauge that shows you how hot or cold the engine coolant is. During normal operation, it should stay in the middle of the range. If it moves into the red, though, you need to do something immediately. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pull off the road in a safe location.

  2. Put the car in park (or in neutral with the parking brake on if you have a stick shift).

  3. Turn off all accessories (air conditioner, radio, etc.).

  4. If steam is coming from under the hood, turn off the engine. Do not open the hood until the steam has stopped.

  5. If there’s no steam visible, watch the temperature gauge. If it begins to drop immediately, chances are good it was overloaded (driving in hills, towing a trailer, etc.).

  6. If the temperature gauge drops, wait until it reaches normal and then get back on the road.

  7. if the temperature gauge does not drop, turn the engine off.

  8. Open the hood (if there’s no steam).

  9. Inspect the radiator hoses and other components for a leak. (DO NOT touch any components – they’re hot!).

  10. Any damaged components (radiator hoses, radiator, reservoir, etc.) must be replaced/repaired before you can drive the car.

  11. If nothing appears damaged, check the coolant level in the reservoir. Top it off (above the minimum mark).

  12. If the reservoir was completely empty, you may need to top off the radiator too. Wait until it is cool to the touch to open and fill it.

  13. To fill the radiator: Crank the engine and turn your heat on full. Now, fill the radiator until coolant is just below the level of the neck. Top off the reservoir as well.

  14. Replace the radiator cap.

  15. Run the engine and watch the temp gauge.

  16. If it cools down, check the reservoir and top it off to the max line. You can continue driving.

  17. If it does not cool down, do not drive the car.

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