You’re driving, and your car starts to overheat; what should you do? And how far can you drive an overheating car before something gets damaged? Overheating is a serious issue as it can lead to very expensive repairs, but it is one of the most neglected issues.
When you notice that your vehicle is overheating, the foremost thing to do is to park at a safe corner of the road and perform a quick checkup to determine the cause.
If you ignore the overheating (for whatever reason), you may end up damaging the car, which may lead to paying for a complete engine overhaul. So, exactly how long can a car overheat before damage?
Let’s quickly find out!
How Far Can You Drive An Overheating Car?
There is no specific number of miles you’ll need to hit with an overheating car before something might get damaged.
The moment a car starts to overheat, it is subjected to extremely hot temperatures, which can damage a lot of things in the engine bay if not attended to as fast as possible.
Someone may hit up to 20 miles with an overheating car, and the engine would still be in good condition. In contrast, another may hit just 10 miles, and the car might shut off on its own.
This is to prove that there is no length or mileage that an overheating engine would drive before a potential/fatal damage occurs.
If you’re on the highway and finding it difficult to pull over and attend to your overheating engine, that’s a challenging situation, but then, you can try this hack to check if the car will return to its normal temperature.
- Turn off the AC (if it was turned on) and turn on the heater.
- Activate driver assistance (if your car supports the tech)
Among several possible causes of overheating, a faulty AC system is one of the commonest. So, turning off the AC would reduce the load on the engine.
Turning on the heater will cause your car to draw heat from the engine bay unto the driver/passenger area. Thus, reducing the heat in that area, and this may reduce overheating.
However, at any possible chance, pull over and wait for some minutes (usually 20 – 30 minutes) for the car to cool down, then you can check for what caused the temperature rise.
What Damages Can Be Caused By Overheating?
Overheating can cause coolant leaks, valve/pump damages, and, most especially, engine damage. Sadly, overheating can lead to other damages that we’ve not mentioned here.
You only need to avoid and fix any fault component in your engine bay to avoid overheating.
How To Detect An Overheating Engine
When the temperature gauge moves from the normal side to the high (red) side – that signifies that your engine bay is experiencing extreme heat. Sometimes, you may notice steam (smoke) coming out from the bonnet.
How To Prevent Your Car From Overheating?
These are not surefire tips to prevent overheating, but they can come in handy to some extent.
- Steam the car every morning and check for leaky components
- Fill the coolant reservoir to the required level.
- Ensure that the radiator fan is spinning.
- Check the water pump and thermostat valve.
- Always visit your mechanic regularly for professional checks and tune-ups.
Conclusion | How Long Can a Car Overheat Before Damage
So, how far can you drive an overheating car? You shouldn’t be concerned about how long an overheating car could drive before fatal damage.
Instead, you should be bothered about the possible damage your car would suffer if you allow the overheating to linger longer. You’re risking serious engine damage if you keep driving an overheating car.
We have provided some handy tips on things that could possibly prevent overheating. But, we’d still recommend that you routinely visit an auto workshop to get your vehicle serviced by experienced technicians.