What to Do if Your Car Overheats Every Time You Drive it a Long Distance

Does your car or truck start overheating once you hit a certain number of miles? If so, there are some things you need to know, not just for the sake of your ride and your budget, but more importantly, also for your safety. Continue reading to learn what you need to do if your vehicle overheats every time that you drive it a relatively long distance.

24 Hour Roadside Emergency Service Indianapolis 317-247-8484
24 Hour Roadside Emergency Service Indianapolis 317-247-8484

What Causes an Overheating Car Engine?

An overheating car engine is a common automotive problem, and fortunately, an easy one to resolve within a short amount of time; in most cases, that is. There are many reasons why car engines overheat. The top causes of engine overheating are low coolant levels or oil levels, but it can also be caused by broken cap seals or engine heat transfer and distribution malfunctions. Although you can address most of these issues with a quick, temporary fix, or simply letting the car cool down for a while, a car engine will not cease to overheat until you have the underlying automotive problem repaired.

Low Coolant Levels

If your car continues to overheat every time you drive it a certain distance, it is time to take a closer look so that you can find a resolution that fits. First, check your coolant levels. Car radiator fluid is known as coolant or antifreeze. If you do not know how to check your coolant levels in your vehicle, refer to the owners’ manual. You will find instructions on how to check your coolant levels and how to refill your coolant. If you are out or low on coolant, give yourself a refill and see if your overheating engine problem persists.

Low Oil Levels

Just like coolant, your car engine will overheat if it is not properly lubricated. There are many internal moving parts within your car engine, and these parts require lubrication to prevent excess grinding, friction, and heat generation. Also refer to the owners’ manual for instructions on how to check your oil levels and refill your motor oil. Be sure to use quality motor oil that is compatible with your make and model vehicle.

Broken Cap Seal

If your car engine continues to overheat every time that you drive it a long distance, but you have already inspected and addressed your fluid levels, your issue could be caused by broken cap seal. In this case, it is recommended that you do not drive your vehicle until this has been repaired. Contact local Indianapolis towing company for quick drop off at your local auto repair shop.

Heat Transfer Malfunctions

Often times, a car engine will continue to overheat because the engine itself has a problem transferring and distributing the heat that it is generating. Although motor oil plays a large part in preventing this from happening, there are other issues that can arise that can cause heat transfer and heat management malfunctions in the engine. You do not want to drive your car any further with having this problem because it can cause further damage to other auto parts. Instead, contact a local 24 hour towing service in Indianapolis to have your car transferred to a local mechanic for repair.

Has your car overheated for the last time and now you are broken down on the side of the road? Contact Zore’s Towing for 24 hour roadside assistance in Indianapolis and its surrounding areas. We serve all of Central Indiana with fluid refills, jump starts, car lockout service, flat tire service, fuel delivery, towing, and more!

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Take These Steps if Your Car or Truck is Overheating

Do Not Drive!
Pull Over Immediately.
Call a Tow Truck.

The most important thing to know about an overheating vehicle is that it should not be driven until the underlying mechanical issue is resolved, and the engine is repaired. Attempting to drive an overheated car can put you and others in danger of an accident, plus cause further, possibly irreversible, damage to the engine. This can lead to costly repairs that could easily be avoided.

Continue below to learn details on how to deal with an overheated car engine on the road.

24 Hour Roadside Assistance Tow Truck Indianapolis Indiana
24 Hour Roadside Assistance Tow Truck Indianapolis Indiana 317-247-8484

Why You Should Never Drive With an Overheated Engine

Never attempt to drive a vehicle that is overheating.  Doing so poses several dangers to you and your passengers, and can also cause severe engine damage. As a result, you might require an entire engine replacement. Replacing or purchasing a new engine can be very expensive, which is why people turn to rebuilt engines in order to save some cash.


Stop driving and safely pull over as soon as your car engine begins to overheat. If smoke is bellowing out from underneath your hood, your car is no longer safe to drive, even if you top off the coolant. Instead, you will need to contact a local Indianapolis IN towing company to have your vehicle towed to the nearest auto repair shop for inspection and service.


If your dashboard shows low levels of overheating, you may just need some more coolant. If you have some in your car, you can refill it on your own. First, let the engine cool completely. Stay in your car while you allow it to come to a safe, workable temperature. Once your engine has cooled, 10 minutes or so, safely exit your vehicle while watching out for oncoming traffic. Open your radiator fluid cap and pour in your antifreeze (coolant). Re-tighten the cap and be sure your hood is locked into place before starting up the ignition.

Letting the Engine Cool

In minor cases of overheating car engines, you may be able to let the engine cool completely and drive the car home yourself.  But if this is a far distance, it is safer for you, your car, and other drivers on the road, to have the car towed back by a towing company.

Have Your Vehicle Serviced ASAP

After contacting a local tow truck company, have them tow your vehicle to the nearest auto repair shop, or the mechanic of your choice.  Some auto repair shops offer pickup and towing services, but these are not always free. Be sure to ask first because you are probably better off calling for professional tow truck service.

Maintaining Proper Coolant Levels

The most common reason why cars overheat is lack of coolant fluid, or antifreeze, in the engine.  Fortunately, this is a simple issue that can be resolved with a quick refill. Do not attempt to check the car’s radiator fluid while the engine is warm. This can be very dangerous and can cause serious burns and other injuries. When the vehicle is cool, be sure the car is on level ground, so you are getting accurate reading levels.

Did your car break down on the side of the road and now you need some help? Contact Zore’s Towing for 24 hour roadside assistance and towing services in Indianapolis and its surrounding locations. Request a free estimate, anytime!

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Indianapolis Towing & Recovery 317-247-8484

3 Things You Should NEVER Do When a Car Engine Overheats

An overheating car could be caused by a variety of reasons.  It could be a broken radiator, a kinked radiator hose, a faulty thermostat, and maybe even a lack of coolant.  There are many more reasons as well.  No matter what the cause, if you are ever in a similar situation, there are three major things you should never do while your car is still hot or overheating.

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24 Hour Roadside Assistance & Towing 317-247-8484

❶ NEVER Continue Driving

When you first notice that your vehicle is overheating, it is crucial to pull over and stop the car immediately.  An overheating car should never be driven.  This can be very dangerous.  Wait until your car is entirely cooled down before starting the engine again.

❷ Never Check Radiator Fluid

Checking your fluid levels in your radiator when the car is overheating is simply asking for trouble.  It can be extremely dangerous.  There is a lot of pressure built up beneath the radiator cap.  Boiling hot fluids and steam can shoot out at high speeds, potentially burning and injuring anyone in its path.  Determine whether or not you are on an inline for accurate fluid readings.  If the car is not level, the fluids cannot be level.

❸ Never Use Cold Water

When a car’s engine has overheated, do not put cold water in the vehicle.  Not only can this damage the engine block and cause it to crack, it can lead to other severe auto damages and costly repairs.  Let a car cool down completely, as mentioned earlier, before tending to an overheated engine.

Causes for Overheating Engine

The most common reason a car overheats is because it is out of coolant! If you use the improper coolant concentration in your vehicle, you can definitely expect it to overheat at some point. It is important to have the proper water-to-coolant ratio for proper cooling operation. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to learn the proper coolant concentration recommended for your make and model car or truck. If you don’t have your owners’ manual, look online for a replacement copy. You can download one for free by visiting your vehicle’s manufacturer website.


First and foremost, always be sure to let the engine cool down completely before opening the hood. Now, since the most common reason a car overheats is because it is out of coolant, always keep a bottle of radiator fluid in your trunk so that you can be prepared in the case of an emergency. If you are stuck on the side of the road with no one to call for help, contact a local 24 hour roadside assistance tow truck for help.

24 Hour Roadside Assistance in Indianapolis

Call Zore’s Towing at 317-247-8484 for 24 hour roadside assistance and towing services in Indianapolis and throughout Central Indiana. Our friendly staff is waiting by the phones, ready to help you get back on the road, safe and sound. We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, so you can always count on us. Request a free estimate, today.

Indianapolis Towing & Recovery 317-247-8484