Keep your cool if your car overheats


LEWISTON- As temperatures rise in the Gem State, AAA reminds drivers to keep their vehicle cooling systems in peak condition to beat the heat.

“An overheated engine can damage pistons and cylinders and warp the engine block, causing cracks that can produce large oil leaks,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “It’s a good idea to do everything you can to avoid a costly repair bill.”

To avoid overheating, make sure the cooling system, hoses and radiator are in good condition – if necessary, have them checked by a trusted mechanic. Always keep engine fluids at proper levels – some companies offer a free “top-up” if you originally purchased service from them.

If your “Check Engine” light or temperature gauge indicates a problem, or if steam is escaping from under the hood, pull over as soon as possible. If you cannot park immediately, turn off the air conditioning and turn on the heating.

Wait for the radiator to cool at least 15 minutes before adding water or coolant. Never remove a hot radiator cap, as this can cause serious injury.

“If you’re expecting help, raise your hood, put down flares or reflectors, and get out your emergency kit as needed,” Conde said. “This time of year, keeping a gallon or two of water in your car to cool cars, people and pets could make all the difference. Use a blanket or towel to protect your body if you must kneel or lie down on hot asphalt.

Drivers should consider visiting an AAA approved auto repair shop for a pre-trip inspection. For more information on installations in your area, visit


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