You’re driving down a nice peaceful road about to start a day of running errands and visiting friends. When you look down at your instrument panel and notice the temperature gauge is heading in the wrong direction fast. That’s right your engine is heading toward overheating and you don’t know what to do. Well let’s correct that, you didn’t know what to do. Understanding the correct actions to take when you believe your engine is about to go red can save you thousands of dollars. Here are four tips to get you through this stressful predicament.

Be prepared

Before hitting the road be prepared for the possibility of your car’s engine overheating. If you are going on a long road trip, especially during the summer months, keep a supply of water and engine coolant in your trunk. Having these two items on hand could save your engine and subsequently your checking account.

Turn off AC

Engines tend to overheat during hot weather months so this piece of advice may seem a bit painful. But if you believe your engine is on its way to a meltdown, you need to turn off the AC immediately. Your car’s AC system places an extra burden on your car’s engine that can worsen the overheating issue.

Turn up the heat

Your car ride is about to become even more uncomfortable but it’s for a good cause. This sounds like a bad idea but cranking up the heater full blast can help vent some of the excess heat from your car’s engine. Even if the temperature outside is excessively hot, you need to turn up the heat and endure it. Turning the heat up and giving your car’s engine a bit of a break can buy you time until you can safely pull over or locate a garage that features a licensed mechanic.

Pull over

If turning off your car’s AC and cranking up the heat hasn’t alleviated the problem, find a safe place to pull over. You need to give your car’s overheating engine a break, and the only way you can do that is by shutting it off. If you want to check for coolant leaks wait a bit. Remember the engine is dangerously hot. Once cooled down you can attempt to locate leaks. If you don’t see any you can add coolant and try to start your engine. However, if you find a leak or leaks, a tow truck is your best option. Don’t tempt fate by driving your car without coolant.

Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid car issues even if you keep up with maintenance. So, knowing what to do when a mechanical failure occurs can be the difference between a minor repair versus a catastrophic fix. When your car’s engine is getting hot keep these tips in mind and although the temperature is rising in your vehicle you can remain calm and cool.