What to do if your car overheats

Fleet management software is an ideal way of monitoring your vehicles and drivers while both are out on the road. Any regular reader to this blog will know how such programs are helping fleet managers all over Australia improve safety and save time across their daily duties.

However, there are certain things both you and your drivers naturally have to keep an eye on, including engine temperature.

There can be many reasons for an overheating engine - from a busted alternator to a leaky radiator. Here's how to spot an engine that is becoming too hot, and what to do if this situation arises.

Three signs of an overheating engine

Steam/smoke - Where there's smoke, there's fire - or at least too much heat. A driver should pull over immediately if they see any emissions from the wrong end of their car.

Check engine light - It speaks for itself: If your driver spots the check engine light, they should be encouraged to pull over, continue with caution and let you know as soon as possible.

Rising temperature gauge - An engine temperature indicator should rarely rise past the mid-way point once the car is running. If your driver notices theirs is consistently higher, it should certainly be checked and longer journeys avoided.

What to do if your car overheats

If your drivers spot any of these warning signs while out on the road, there is a checklist they can follow to help remedy the situation:

1) Reduce engine load - Drivers should switch off the air conditioning and any similar non-essential electrics. Keeping their revs as low as possible should also help reduce the engine load and temperature in the short term.

2) Turn on the in-car heater - As backwards as it first sounds, switching on the heater and blower helps to vent hot air trapped under the hood. Drivers can open the windows to improve the flow of air through the car and prevent themselves from overheating in the process.

3) Pull over - If the temperature continues to rise, the driver should find a safe spot to stop the car, switch off the engine and open the hood to let the components breathe. Take care, though; if steam is coming from under the bonnet it will likely be too hot to touch.

4) Gauge the situation - With the engine getting some air, a 30-minute stop should allow you to push on, though the driver should only make the decision to do so if they feel confident and comfortable. If not, they should seek the help of their fleet manager and consider roadside assistance.

4) Head to the garage - There's no doubt you'll want to fix whatever's wrong, and this is a job for your mechanic. Fleet maintenance can dramatically cut the cost of repairs, so make sure you use all the resources at hand to get your car back on the road quickly and with cost efficiency.