how long does it take for a car to cool down

How Long Does It Take For A Car To Cool Down?

So, you’re driving under the heat of the sun, your car is not tinted which allows the UV rays to easily penetrate, and you forgot to check the status of what’s happening under the hood which causes your temperature to point nearer to “H.” What should you do? Normally, it’s an eye-opener for you. What just happened? Well, technically, something not good is going to happen.

By right, cars require a checklist of preventive maintenance which should be done to ensure maximum life and performance. This is the best way to avoid problems down the road. Imagine experiencing a sudden sound in the engine, light on the cluster, unusual smell – something is really wrong. One common problem that a car experiences is overheating. So if this does happens, how long does it take for a car to cool down? It’s very important not to do anything after a few minutes if your car overheats. We’ll have that tackled below.

How long does it take for a car to cool down?

There are a number of signs which enable you to know if your car overheats. You might see the arrow of your temperature gauge pointing nearer to “H,” cluster light turned on (coolant), as some examples. Then you might ask these questions, “What should I do? How long to let engine cool before adding coolant? How long does it take for a car to cool down to check the oil? How long does a car hood stay warm? These are all mind-bugging questions, and if you don’t respond well, things may get worse.

This may happen for the first time, second, or a number of times, and this may allow you to panic, but the best thing to do is to compose your mind and recall the basics when situations like these happens. Nothing beats a calm mind. Moreover, this is why it’s important to learn the basics especially if you owned a car for the first time. If ever this happens, do not do anything yet. The first thing to do is to pull-over to the side of the road, and turn off your engine immediately. Let it cool down for around 20-30 minutes. 

If you are not confident to handle the problem, then you may call for rescue (roadside assistance), but if you can, then open the car hood for heat to be released.

I repeat, do not do anything if your car hasn’t cooled down yet. After 30 minutes, you may switch the ignition key to ACC (KL75) and check if the temperature gauge is back to its normal state. If yes, then you may turn on the engine / crank and see if everything goes well. If there are no issues, then you may start driving again but make sure to observe the behavior of the car from time to time.

If your car doesn’t cooperate, then it’s time to call roadside assistance. This would mean you’ll be rescued and at times, a mechanic will check your car for the issues.

Why does my car overheat?

There are several reasons why your car overheats, but here are some of the reasons why:

  • The cooling system is not functioning accordingly – heat is not able to escape from the engine compartment
  • There may be coolant leaks, which causes it not to circulate properly. And much more, it doesn’t matter what season – whether it’s summer time (because it’s hot outside) or winter time (coolant may freeze and could prevent circulation)
  • To regulate the amount of coolant flowing the engine, the vehicle’s thermostat should be functioning well. If not, then this would cause overheat
  • Oil change preventive maintenance is not properly observed. Running low on engine oil or not changing it after running another 5,000 miles correspond to a difficulty in removing heat from the engine
  • Something is wrong with your radiator cooling fan. Since there is a need to have enough cool air flow, malfunctioning radiator fans could cause overheat in the car. 
If you are a new car owner and of course the car is new, it may be too soon for your car to overheat.

We can take all the guesses that we want, but taking this matter to the right experts allows the root cause of the problem to be checked. Dealerships and service providers, or even bringing this up to your trusted automotive mechanic helps you solve the problem. Also, car warranties and insurances are available and there’s no need to worry about. Taking the time to solve this issue is the best thing to do, rather than hurrying up and making things even worse.

Preparation for the worse is still a good thing. Like for example, you may store bottles of water and coolant in your trunk in case something happens, especially if your car already exhibited issues in the past. But regardless of having a brand new car or not, store these items just in case.


It’s quite a challenge having these kind of problems with your car especially in the case of overheating, but sometimes, this is unavoidable. We may look at probably it’s because of some warranty issue or lack of preventive maintenance, but the main goal here is to fix your car. Checking it thoroughly will surely reveal the root cause of the problem. Proper approach in fixing it is the best thing to do. So how long does it take for a car to cool down? 30 minutes. However, if you can still wait until 45 minutes to 1 hour, then the better. This is still a case-to-case basis because if you are currently driving and you need to pull-over, the former is an enough waiting time to check your car.

We have discussed these “how to approaches” but still, nothing beats preventive maintenance. Regular monitoring and checkup helps you avoid headaches. This is still the best thing to do.