Overheating is a common issue many Kei truck owners face. You hop into your truck excited for the day ahead and a few miles down the road, the thermostat climbs towards “H”, the dashboard warning light flashes, your engine spews steam or smoke and you have to pull over. Generally, your truck overheats because the cooling system is failing to allow heat to leave the engine. This might be caused by leakage or blockage somewhere in the cooling system, which includes the radiator fan, coolant, water pumps, hoses and thermostat. Are you wondering what should do when your Kei truck overheats? This guide is dedicated to helping you on what to do when your kei truck overheats.

Steps to Take When Your Kei Truck Overheats

  1. Turn on the truck’s heater

Do not turn on the air conditioning of your mini truck. As counterintuitive as that sounds, turning on the heater instead will pull the heat from your engine into the passenger compartment, lightening the load off the cooling system. You’ll know if it’s working if the temperature gauge goes back to the neutral position or the warning light goes off. However, sometimes this is not enough.

  1. Pull over

If the engine continues to overheat, even with the heater on, find a safe space away from oncoming traffic, pull over, and turn off the engine. Don’t cause more permanent damage to your engine.

  1. Don’t open the hood

Sit tight! The hood is hot, the coolant is boiling and the water is now high-pressure steam. Opening the hood immediately may lead to serious burns. Let the car sit for about 10 – 15 minutes and allow everything to cool down, then go ahead and look for leaking coolant or unusual wear and tear on your drive belt. Some engine problems aren’t difficult to identify.

  1. Add Coolant

If there are no leaks, you might be you’re running low on coolant.

Put on gloves, and locate the radiator cap (consult the user manual where necessary). Place a wet towel on the cap, and slowly remove it to release the pressure build-up from when the coolant expanded from heating. Fill up the coolant – most engines use half water, half antifreeze. Replace the cap and start the engine. If the temperature returns to neutral, drive on with caution while checking the temperature gauge.

  1. Get your car serviced

Adding coolant may not address the root cause of why your engine overheated but it often allows you to start your car. Drive to the nearest mechanic and have your truck’s engine professionally serviced.

If the coolant was full, and you found leaks or unusual wear and tear on the drive belt, call your mechanic.


Give love to your Japanese Kei truck, and it will give you good service! So before you get your Kei truck on the road next time, take the time to check the coolant levels, make sure it’s fresh and schedule regular visits to the mechanic. An overheating engine indicates a serious problem developing in your truck.

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