What To Do When Your Engine Starts Blowing Steam

Table of Contents

Most of us have experience of our car overheating at some point. The first indication comes when you notice the temperature gauge for the engine starts to creep into the red. Though you might try to convince yourself it is a faulty sensor, it is unlikely. It is the point when you should pull over and investigate the problem, but the urge to get to their destination pushes many people to keep driving just a little while longer. Eventually, they take heed and stop the vehicle.

This article is to help you understand what to do when your car overheats. If you have the foresight, I suggest that you carry spare engine coolant hoses for such a scenario. There is only usually two or three, and they are cheap to buy.


When you step out of the vehicle, you may hear a hissing noise emanating from the engine. Look on the floor underneath it, and you will probably see a puddle of coolant forming. There may also be steam blowing out from that area of the car. It is a common problem, so don’t panic. Make sure it is steam and not smoke, because the implications are different.

Safety First

To begin with, do nothing. Some people open the bonnet immediately and release a cloud of steam into the air. That is pointless because you can not make any repairs until the engine cools down, and you risk getting a blast of steam or coolant in your face that will cause severe burns. Though it is inconvenient, you must wait. Take the time to view a site about repairing engine hoses on your smartphone because you might need to undertake the procedure.

The Repair

Lift the bonnet and investigate the cause. If the radiator has sprung a leak, there is little you can do except pour in a product that performs a temporary repair. As the water leaks out, it carries the chemical to the hole or split, and it forms a seal that should be good enough to get you home.

Check the coolant hoses for splits, and if you find one, follow this procedure.

  1. Inspect both ends of the hose and locate the securing clips. They are often steel bands that tighten with a screw or bolt.
  2. Undo the clip by turning the screw or bolt in an anticlockwise direction. You will notice that the band becomes loose.
  3. Wiggle the hose free and remove it.
  4. Slide the clips onto the new hose and fit it to the engine, ensuring both ends are in place.
  5. Slide the clips into position and tighten them.
  6. Remove the radiator or filler reservoir cap and refill the system with water. There is no need to worry about antifreeze; you can see to that later.
  7. Run the engine to see if it stays at the correct temperature. If it still overheats, there may be an airlock in the system. Sometimes there is a bleed screw on top of the thermostat, or you may need to loosen one of the top hose clips and wait until some water starts to leak out. That should deal with the problem.

Your vehicle will now be safe to drive, and you may continue with your journey. When you act in a positive way and solve a problem such as this, you get a sense of satisfaction. Triumphing over adversity is always a positive thing, and you deserve a pat on the back. Well done!

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