When did you last open your bonnet and check the coolant level in your engine?
When did you last look at the rubber hoses under your bonnet and check for leaks?
These are just a couple of the things that you could do in order to help prevent your engine from overheating.
Your will get an indication that all is not well when you see the engine temperature gauge rising or get a warning light showing that the operating temperature is above normal. You may also notice steam from under the bonnet.
Another sign inside the car is that your heater might start blowing cool air ... This happens because the system is low on coolant. This won't necessarily mean that your engine is overheating but it is a sign that trouble is on the way!
There can be a number of causes ranging from severe engine problems to the car simply being fed up of sitting in a long summer traffic jam. The most common cause is a lack of coolant (normally a water and antifreeze mix) in the car's cooling system. This is your fault!
Summer overheating can be cured by a brisk drive. You should also turn the car heater up full to help dissipate heat (You'll have to figure out how to explain the fact that you are driving along naked if you are stopped by a police officer).
If no heat comes from the heater, the system needs more water or is blocked - a blocked system will need the attention of a mechanic (this usually results from poor or infrequent servicing).
In winter weather you may be able to 'limp' home with frequent 'cooling stops' ... Keep watching the temperature gauge if you do this.
Opening the bonnet may help you to find out what the problem is. But, NEVER take the cap off a hot radiator or header tank in order to put in water... You will receive severe scalding from superheated steam. Wait for at least half-an-hour and even then, cover the cap with a towel and stand at arms length to protect yourself.
Stay calm - stay safe!