How Long Does It Take for a Car to Cool Down?

The fan in the car engine continues running for a while after the engine has been turned off. You might have noticed this and wondered why; this is simply because the car has to cool off so it won’t have any problem.

This article will answer some questions you might have such as how long does it take for a car to cool down, How does the engine cooling system work, how long does it take for a car to cool down for an oil change, and how long does it take for a car to cool down for a mechanical procedure.

We also provide you with tips on how to get your car to cool down faster.

Let’s begin!

If you intend on working on the engine, make sure there is no steam coming out of the hood before opening it up.

An engine that is overheated brings out steam from its radiator. This steam can burn the skin if you open the hood before the engine cools down. Therefore it is important to wait patiently until the engine is cool.

Check the temperature gauge to ensure the engine has cooled down and the hood is safe to open.

Keep reading this article to know some of the measures you can take to make the engine cool faster. But first, let us discuss how a car’s cooling system works.

Also Read: Radiator Repair Options And Which You Should Choose

Factors That Determine How Long It Takes for a Car to Cool Down?

The faster your car’s cooling process, the lesser the damage it generates to the engine.

However, some factors influence the cooling down of the car’s engine. Some of which includes:

  1. The quality and amount of insulation in the engine bay;
  2. How hot the engine gets While the car is functioning
  3. The amount or volume of coolant that circulates in the engine
  4. The temperature of the environment where the engine overheated.
  5. The material in which the engine block and head are made ( that is, the engine block made of aluminum cools faster than steel).

Also Read: Car Overheating When Idle? (Here Is What to Do)

How Long Does It Take for a Car to Cool Down for an Oil Change

The cooling of the car engine for an oil change is an important task as an oil change cant be safely done when the engine is too hot.

An oil change also can’t be properly done when the engine is completely cold because the viscosity of oil changes with temperature. Therefore the higher the engine’s temperature, the easier the oil flows.

There are two ways to get the engine to an optimal temperature for an oil change:

  1. If the car has been driven to its running temperature, switch off the car and let it cool for about 30 minutes.
  2. If the engine is completely cool, start the car and let it run for some minutes.

The first case mentioned above makes the engine get cool enough for you to safely get to the oil filter and make the oil change without burning yourself. While the second case helps get the oil to a suitable temperature to enable it to flow easily.

The time highlighted above is just an estimate and can be influenced by the temperature of the environment. So do well to work within your conditions and be careful not to burn yourself.

Also Read: How Much Oil Does My Car Need?

How Long Does It Take for a Car to Cool Down for a Mechanical Procedure

The amount of time to wait for the engine to cool down before replacing or inspecting parts varies depending on the kind of replacement or repair you intend to do.

For most tasks, a minimum of one or two hours is advisable to let your car cool down, but if you intend to carry out a major diagnostic test or open the engine block, it is advisable to leave the car overnight to allow it cool.

Before embarking on a mechanical procedure, dont just check the temperature of the part you will be working on; also, check the surrounding components.

These different components are made of different materials; therefore, their cooling rate varies. This can be observed in the case of hoses that cool faster than the metal parts they are attached to.

How to Cool Down Your Engine Fast

As stated earlier, “the fastest the car cools down, the lesser the damages on the engine. This being noted, below are some of the ways to speed up the cooling process.

1. Perform Rapid Cooling to the Radiator, Not the Engine

A perfect way to do this is to spray or pour water on the radiator. Be cautious not to do this on the engine as it can cause a sudden crack on the engine block.

2. Rev the Engine Quickly

Another way to speed up the cooling process is by starting the engine and quickly revving it for one to two seconds. This action will help in circulating the coolant through the water pump.

However, make sure there is enough coolant in your engine before doing this trick.

3. Turn Off the Engine but Turn the Key in the ‘On’ Position

Keeping the key in the “on” position after the engine has been turned on makes the fan continue running, thereby speeding up the cooling process.

4. Fan the Car Interior

You can fan the car interior by opening the back and front window of the car. After that, open the door on the opposite side of the car and swing the door back and forth. Repeat this process at least three times.

5. Start the Engine and Turn Your Car’s Air Conditioning Setting to the Max

If your car has an option to select the ‘external’ air setting, then this trick is possible.

To know if your car has this option, check if the AC switch of your car has an arrow that is entering the car.

When this external air setting is selected, cooler air from outside will enter the car. You have to leave the car windows open, as this trick will take some minutes to take effect.

6. Open the Lower Air Vents

In the car, hot air rises, whereas cold air stays down. Therefore, allowing cool air to enter the car through the floor openings will force the hot air to rise and go out through the windows.

7. Open the Car Windows

Another easy way to speed up the engine’s cooling process is by driving the car with the windows open for some minutes. This action will enable hot air from the engine and inside the car to escape. Continue this until the air in the vent becomes cooler than the outside temperature.

8. Switch to Recirculated Air and Close the Windows

This is another effective way of speeding up the car’s cooling process, and this should be done only if the air from the air conditioner is already cool.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take a Car to Cool Down to Add Coolant?

If you Just embark on a short drive, it won’t take that long for the car to cool down before adding coolant as the radiator would not be very hot. Therefore an average of 20 to 30 mins would be enough. Nevertheless, if you had just embarked on a very long drive, it would take more time for the engine to cool down. If that’s the case, a minimum of 1 hour is recommended.

Can I Pour Water on My Engine to Cool It Down?

No, do not pour water on a hot engine or radiator. Doing this can cause a sudden temperature change and might result in the cracking of the engine block.


In summary, A car engine takes a minimum of about 30 minutes to cool down before you can safely handle it. The cooling down of a car can also take as long as 1-2 hours, depending on the ambient temperature and other factors.

Do not try to lift the car’s hood if it is emitting steam. Observe the car’s temperature gauge as it shows when the engine has cooled down.

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