Q. How do I handle overheating problem? If I see steam coming out of my bonnet & my cluster indicates engine temperature is shifting towards hot in the indicator, how do I handle the situation?

When it comes to car heating, we have all been there. It is important to take proper steps to avoid injury to self as well as damage to car engine.

There are a number of factors which can cause overheating of the engine. The most common reason is leakage from radiator / hoses / waterproofing etc. If checking of coolant level is neglected for a long period, it will result in low coolant level causing engine overheating problem. If coolant level is full then there may be electrical or mechanical reasons like motor, faulty water pump, worn out ram belt or faulty thermostat.

Overheating can be identified by flames coming out of the hood & dial of the engine temp meter on the cluster

-As soon as one notices these symptoms, one should pull over & stop the car at a safe place.

Switch off the car engine immediately & let the engine cool down. Generally it takes 20-30 mins for the engine to cool down.

Call up roadside assistance helpline of the manufacturer, explain the situation & understand the solution from them.

Do not touch the radiator cap when it’s hot. It’s a strict no-no. Please avoid opening the radiator cap when it is hot.

Once engine cools down, check the level of coolant in the coolant reservoir tank & fill coolant / water in the reservoir tank if the level is low by opening the cap.


-If there’s a leakage, even though you fill the reservoir tank, it may drain off.


In case of heavy leakage, coolant will not stay in the system and in no time it will drain off which will be very much noticeable. In such a situation call the roadside assistance helpline & get the car towed to the nearest service centre.

The car cannot be driven if there’s no coolant in the car either due to low coolant or leakage. Driving in such a situation may lead to severe damage to the car.

One must always make it a habit to check if anything is leaking whenever your car experiences a frontal impact or if it runs over a heavy obstacle or deep pothole. This can save you lakhs of rupees because if the car is run without coolant in the system or without engine oil in the oil sump it will lead to engine seizure.


-If the leakage is minor then top-up the coolant in the reservoir tank and drive off to the nearest service centre.

leakage 2

In this situation one has to keep topping up the water/coolant then drive for some time then again top-up with water/coolant because some of it will drain off while you drive and then again drive until you reach the nearest garage. If your car doesn’t reach the destination, then stop the car again, check the coolant level & refill the reservoir tank.

This method should only be used if the coolant leakage is minor. One can top up with plain water in case coolant is not available in case of minor leakage and drive the car to the nearest workshop using above mentioned method.


-If the coolant levels are ok then the problem may be mechanical or electrical.

In this situation don’t drive the car & please get it towed to the nearest workshop.

 Key points

-Always keep coolant bottle in your car as for emergency.

-Alternatively you could also make do with a jug of water which is easy to arrange.

-Generally 50-50 mixture of coolant & water is added. In case of minor leakage in the reservoir tank it is ok to add just water.

-Always keep roadside assistance number in handy.

-Don’t try to touch or open the radiator cap when the engine is hot. Wait for 20-30 mins to let it cool.