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How Long Does It Take for a Car to Cool Down

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Just how long does it take for a car to cool down, well, this depends on a lot of factors. For instance, a vehicle driven for 30 minutes cannot take the same time to cool down as a vehicle driven for 5 hours. Let us sink into the details.

Factors Affecting the Heating Up of a Vehicle

For us to understand the cooling, we have to first of all look at the reasons and extent of heating up of a vehicle. 

1.The Coolant Concentration

The type and mixture of coolant on how fast your car shall heat up. If you have the right coolant and mixture, then your engine shall heat up with discipline, which is gradual. 

Maintenance in terms of changing your coolant also plays a key role. If for example you replaced your engine coolant at the beginning of the year and want to run for a couple of months, then expect faster heat up.

2.The Health of Your Vehicles Cooling System

This encompasses the radiator, thermostat, radiator fan, water pump, water pump belt and so forth. 

If one or more of this is not kept in their good working condition, then you might expect faster heating up. If you’ve been punctual with your vehicle’s maintenance service, then the heating up shall be gradual.

3. The Material Your Engine Is Made Out of

Aluminum engines, though not solely made of aluminum are lighter and allow more heat change to the surrounding. 

Iron block engines, on the other hand, are too heavy and allow less heat transfer. Therefore, though slight, we expect aluminum engines to heat up slower compared to iron engines.

After examining some of the factors that determine how fast your engine heats up, we can now comfortably discuss how long your vehicle shall take to cool down.

How Long Shall Your Vehicle Take to Cool Down to Zero After Turning Off

After switching off your car, it shall be depending on the normal heat loss process. This is, the loss of heat from the engine block shall be proportionally equal to the difference of heat between your surrounding environment and that of your engine. 

This predicts how much heat loss you shall expect if it is day or at night in summer or winter.

Typically, the engine shall cool down faster immediately after turning off. 

As the heat of your engine cools down to near the level of the surrounding, the rate becomes slower and can take a couple of hours to completely cool down.

In case you’re trying to cool down your vehicle in summer, you shall not achieve a complete cool down in day time. You have to leave your car to cool down at night when the temperatures of the surrounding drop significantly.

What About the Case of Your car Overheats?

Your car might overheat making you stuck in traffic. In this case, you might take a different approach to cool down your engine. 

Engage your hand brake, shift your gear to neutral and accelerate to let the radiator fan and water pump run to cool your engine faster. 

For this method, your engine shall cool faster, maybe 30 minutes to 1 hour, after which you can open your radiator. 

How to Prevent Your Engine from Overheating

Waiting for your car to cool down gives an anxious and annoying experience. You do not want to stop over again to cool down your vehicle, take the following steps to avoid such an experience from reoccurring.

  1. Always carry along extra coolant and water

Keep checking your vehicle’s temperature gauge. This shall help you to know if the temperature of the vehicle is starting to heat abnormally. Immediately you detect this, just pull over and refill the radiator with water, take caution however not to open the radiator before it cools down to a reasonable level.

  1. Check out for leaks 

Leaks can directly be seen by observing the underside of your vehicle engine, you shall be able to see the leaks. After this, make it habit to have your engine checked for leaks. You do not have to wait till your vehicle overheats to have such simple check-ups done. 

  1. Use the engine fan to cool down

When stuck in traffic, try switching to neutral or parking an accelerated to get your vehicle’s engine to cool as explained earlier.

  1. Reduce the loads on your engine

Accessories such as your car AC put an extra load on your engine. In case you notice your car engine rising abnormally, one of the steps to take is switching off your AC. This way, your cabin shall heat up while the engine cools down.

What Not To Do


  • As much as you are in a hurry to get your engine working again, never open the radiator or any parts before it cools down to a tolerable level. The hot coolant and water in the radiator might jet out right into your face, you know what that means. 
  • Never continue driving if you notice that your vehicle is overheating. Just look for the nearest space to pull over. If you continue to run on an overheating engine, you shall be risking to spoil your engine completely. To know whether your cooling system is boiling, observe the engine, you shall bee smoke coming out of the engine. Warning lights and gauges shall also be a warning as a notification that your vehicle is overheating.

Final Words

We now understand that how long it takes a car to cool down shall depend on the many explored reasons above. 

Generally, your car shall cool down within 30 minutes, but not completely. After this time, your car shall be safe to handle and you should be able to troubleshoot the problem. 

Again, we advise that you take prior measures to avoid getting your engine to overheat. Keep your car healthy and enjoy a good time driving. 

To keep your vehicle’s engine safe from overheating, consider changing the coolant at least once a month.

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