over heating

By Nnamdi Ikeh-Akabogu (FRSCN)


  1. Turn the engine off.


If your car overheats on the road, the first thing you need to do is turn it off, open the hood and let it cool off on its own.


  1. Never take off the radiator cap.


You don’t want to uncap the radiator system or the water system. It will be under high pressure and will blow off and burn you if you try to do that.


  1. Let the engine cool off before you do anything.


Normally your car will have warning lights and a pressure relief valve.

If your engine starts to overheat, it will give you plenty of warning before you could damage anything. You really can’t address any of the problems though until the engine cools off on its own.


  1. Refill antifreeze/coolant.


In the race car, the rules say we have to use water, but in your car, you should use antifreeze. Once everything cools back down to roughly room temperature, open the system up and fill it back up with new antifreeze.


  1. Check hoses for leaks, blockages, or bursts.


Inspect to see if you have a leak or something that caused your engine to overheat because normally, the car doesn’t just overheat on its own.

Chances are you either have a leak in the coolant system, or a thermostat went bad, which can happen a lot.

On older cars, it was much more common, but on newer cars, you sometimes need to have a professional technician take a look.

Regardless of the age of your vehicle, the number one rule is to just let your engine cool off.


  1. Carefully monitor the temperature gauge


If the gauge crosses over to hot, pull over to a safe location and turn the engine off.


  1. Keep a safety kit in your car.


Have a kit that contains coolant, a tool kit, a blanket, a working flashlight, non-perishable foods and water in the car at all times, just in case.


Making sure your coolant system is topped off with antifreeze.

Checking that all hoses are in good shape so they don’t corrode or leak.

Changing your oil regularly. “If you change your oil yourself, check the water system, hoses, and belts. A good visual inspection can go a long way.”

Having your fan checked when getting an oil change. “Sometimes fans go bad and can cause the engine to overheat, so keeping that maintained is important.”


  1. Overheating can slow you down or stop you like a red flag on a track
  2. To be sure there’s nothing that could stop your journey, you must remember and apply these tips to keep your vehicle cool.


The traffic expert is DCC Nnamdi Ikeh-Akabogu, DCC Morning and Evaluation (M&E), Special Duties and External Relations (SEDER), FRCC HQ, Abuja.

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