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Keep Your Car Cool

Car in the heat.

Content provided courtesy of USAA.

Hot temperatures outdoors increase the chance of your engine overheating. This is especially true when you're stuck in traffic (when airflow can't help cool the engine) or driving uphill (when the engine is working extra hard). To help prevent problems, have your engine coolant reservoir periodically checked and refilled to the full line.

As you drive, keep an eye on the dashboard temperature gauge. If the needle passes well over the midpoint or if you see steam coming from underneath the hood:

  • Pull over. Once you're in a safe spot, turn off the car. Continuing to drive an overheated vehicle can severely damage the engine.
  • Call roadside assistance to have your car towed to a service station or repair shop.

WARNING: While it's possible to add coolant directly to the radiator, never remove the radiator cap unless the engine has cooled for several hours. A hot radiator can release blasts of scalding steam.

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