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If you’re planning a road trip this summer, the last thing you need is for your car to break down from overheating. Read on to learn how to prevent this from happening.
Bristol Street Motors

Six Tips to Prevent Your Car from Overheating This Summer

Six Tips to Prevent Your Car from Overheating This Summer

  • An overheating engine can be caused by a problem with your car’s cooling system
  • Common warning signs of overheating include smoke and burning
  • Topping up your coolant is usually a good fix, but it's important to get this checked by professionals
  • Follow our six simple tips to prevent your car from overheating this summer
  • Rest assured, overheating is much less likely in newer cars


If you’re planning a road trip this summer, the last thing you need is for your car to break down from overheating.

We’ve pulled together some expert guidance on how to keep your car cool during the warmer months, and what to do if your engine shows signs of overheating.

It’s important to note that most car engines will not overheat. Newer cars, with new batteries and cars that are regularly serviced, are less likely to suffer from the problems of overheating.

Read on to learn more.

Causes of an overheated engine

To know how to prevent your car from overheating, it’s useful to understand what might be causing the issue.

Your car’s cooling system plays an important role in dissipating heat from the engine, keeping temperatures under the bonnet at a safe level.

If the cooling system suffers a fault, heat is unable to escape. It can be dangerous to keep driving if there’s a problem with the cooling system. Plus, it also risks damaging important elements that keep the engine working.

Signs to look out for

In most cases, you will be alerted to an issue by a warning light on your dashboard. If the temperature warning light (thermometer icon) flashes on, this could be your car telling you about the problem.

Other warning signs could include:

- An unusual burning smell

- Smoke coming from your car’s bonnet

Coolant checks and assistance

If you notice any of the above signals, you should pull over as soon as possible – when it’s safe to do so - and turn the engine off.

If possible, click the bonnet open from the inside of the vehicle to let some of the heat escape.

Once the engine has fully cooled down (this can take between 30 minutes to two hours), check your coolant tank. If the coolant level is low, refill it to the desired level. You can check the status of this fix by turning the ignition to its first position and checking the temperature gauge.

man checking car

Even if you think that topping up the coolant has solved the issue, you should still get your vehicle checked out by a professional. Visit your local Bristol Street Motors dealership, and let our expert team take a closer look.


1. Never risk going near the engine before it has properly cooled down, as you could suffer smoke or steam burns.

2. Never add cold liquid to a hot engine, as this can cause significant damage.

3. The information above is for guidance only. For precise instructions on how to change your coolant, please refer to your vehicle handbook.

If your car’s coolant doesn’t need topping up, but your car is showing signs of overheating, you will need to call for roadside assistance.

If you are a Motability customer, rest assured, you have full RAC breakdown cover included in your package. Contact RAC Motability Assist on 0800 73 111 73.

Tips to prevent your engine from overheating

1. Ensure you regularly check the coolant and engine oil in your vehicle, and keep them at optimal levels

2. Keep some spare coolant and engine oil in the boot of your car for any emergency top-ups

3. If possible, always try and park your car in a shaded location

4. Use a windscreen shade to reduce the risk of overheating

5. Always take note of your car’s temperature gauge

6. If possible, when driving, open your windows or use the floor vents to keep a constant flow of air

Keep an eye on our Newsroom for further car advice and tips. If you think it’s time for a new vehicle, browse our range below.

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