Does Turning on Your Car Heater Help with Engine Overheating?

It's very common advice to turn on your vehicle's heater if it starts overheating. So if your car begins overheating, will this trick actually work?

What Happens When You Turn On the Heater?

After you turn on your heater, heat is diverted from the heater core by a blower motor into the cabin of your vehicle, taking a bit of the burden from your struggling engine. In minor cases of overheating, this could solve the issue, at least temporarily. If the warning light doesn't turn off after a few minutes, you'll want to pull over, otherwise, you risk damaging key components of your engine.

What Should I Do After I Pull Over?

Firstly, do not open the hood. If your vehicle is overheating, that means the coolant inside is under immense pressure and is incredibly hot. Let the car cool for at least 15 minutes, opening it any sooner opens you up to the possibility of getting 200+ degree coolant shot directly into your face. After your 15 minutes are up, touch the hood. If it feels cool, you should be good to go. Although for added safety, you might want to put on a pair of heat-resistant gloves if you have them. Then find the radiator cap, place a towel or rag over the top and loosen it about a quarter turn. This allows any remaining pressure or steam to vent without endangering your hands or arms. After it's done venting, you should fill the radiator with coolant until it reaches the full line. You can also add some extra to the clear plastic overflow reservoir while you're at it.

What Next?

After you've replaced the coolant, you'll want to start driving your vehicle to a mechanic. Keep a close eye on the dash and pull over again at any sign of overheating. If you're vehicle overheats before you can make it to the mechanic, it's probably best to just call for a tow. But for any and all engine repair needs, don't hesitate to give River City Tire & Automotive a call today!

312 E 35th St Davenport, IA 52806, (563) 386-2700 | Privacy Policy
River City Tire & Automotive is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call River City Tire & Automotive (563) 386-2700 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.