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Car safety: What to do if your car overheats


Anyone’s car can overheat at anytime, anywhere. Keep your cool by knowing the signs and how to respond.

Signs your car is overheating

Noticing the signs early can help you avoid a full breakdown or permanent engine damage. Things to look for include:

  • steam coming from under your bonnet
  • a strange smell coming from your car
  • a warning from the engine temperature gauge on your dashboard (this is a little different in every car, so check your owner’s manual).

Broken down? Call 1800 814 578

What to do if your car overheats

  • Don’t ignore the signs. Doing so could lead to serious, potentially permanent, engine damage.
  • Turn your air conditioner off. This reduces the stress on the engine and can buy you time to pull over somewhere safe.
  • Don’t ride the brake. If you’re in traffic, crawl along slowly. Riding the brake can put more strain on your engine and make it heat up.
  • Pull over. Turn your car off and let the engine cool down. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge, as it should move back to a normal range as the engine cools.
  • Don’t open the bonnet. Doing so puts you at risk of burns or injuries from steam or smoke. Let your engine cool and leave it to the professionals.

Call for help with Apia Roadside Assistance

Car problems can happen any time, any day, anywhere. Apia Roadside Assistance aims to get you back on the road with a dedicated roadside service for your car — available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, Australia wide*.

Read more:


* Terms and conditions for coverage apply.

Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency Pty Ltd (Apia) ABN 14 099 650 996 AR 239591 is an authorised representative of AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI), the issuer of Home, Landlord, Car, Caravan, Motorhome, Boat, Travel & Compulsory Third Party Personal Injury (CTP) Insurance.

Read the Product Disclosure Statement  before buying this insurance. Apia Roadside Assist an optional extra only available in conjunction with Apia comprehensive car insurance. Terms and conditions for coverage apply.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.

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