What To Do If Your Car Overheats While Idling With A/C On

Man calling to car mechanic service after car engine breakdown

You’re waiting in line or in a traffic jam in your car and it’s a sweltering hot day. What do you do? You turn on the air conditioning system. Now your car is sitting still, idling, with the A/C (air conditioning) running. What might happen next – and actually does in any number of cases – is that the engine overheats. Now what?

What do you suppose is one of the most common causes of engine damage? It’s overheating. There are numerous reasons for an overheating engine and possibly just as many ways to diagnose the issue. Here, we’re going to examine some of the reasons why your car might overheat, especially if you’re running your air conditioning system. If your car overheats while idling with A/C on, what should you do?

Is Your Vehicle Overheating?

The following are some signs your engine may be overheating:

  • Engine shut down – If an engine is overheated, you may not be able to start it due to a safety precaution installed in many modern vehicles. This applies whether the A/C is off or on. It may start again once the engine has cooled.
  • Engine compartment clicking/ticking sounds – Your engine’s oil cannot do its intended job if it loses viscosity because it’s past the manufacturer recommended time. Friction may then happen in your engine which you will likely hear. This can cause overheating.
  • The car feels hot – If, compared to earlier, your car interior feels hotter, if you smell burnt rubber or plastic, overheating might be the problem. The plastics and gaskets in your engine are starting to melt.
  • Temperature gauge rising – Ideally, 110°C should not be exceeded by your coolant temperature gauge. Rather than a gauge, temperature lamps are used in some vehicles. If the engine coolant temperature gets too high, the light turns on.
  • A/C related overheating – If your A/C is running and your engine overheats, it could be because of a defective engine coolant sensor, a bad cooling system, defective cooling fan, or an A/C compressor overload.

What Can You Do?

Here are some steps you can take if your engine overheats:

  • Pull off to the side of the road or into a parking spot. Turn off the engine.
  • Turn off the A/C and switch the heater on. This draws heat away from the engine and into the cabin. You’ll want to open your windows so you don’t overheat yourself!
  • Don’t drive if you don’t have to. Until the engine has cooled down, it’s important you do not open the hood and/or do not try to add coolant. The engine is extremely hot, and it must cool for at least 15 minutes before you touch it.
  • Coolant can be added once the engine has cooled down sufficiently. Your car overheated for a reason, and you’re losing coolant for a reason, as well. Drive to a technician immediately so they can find out what the problem is.

Note: It’s important to find out why your engine overheated. Once you let the engine cool down, and add coolant if needed, drive your car to a safe parking spot. It’s time to call a technician and get the vehicle checked out.

We Supply Automotive A/C System Parts throughout the Nation and More

Do you work on automotive A/Cs? Are you having a problem with the A/C system in your automobile? If so, perform A/C repairs with quality parts from R&Y A/C Compressors. We can expedite your order of valves, tubes, evaporators, compressor bearings, accumulators, and more.

To reach our customer service department, between 8:30 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday, please call 305-919-8864. On Saturdays, we are available from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM. You may also choose to send us an email at [email protected].

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