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

This blog post will answer the question, ‘How long does it take a car engine to cool down?’, and cover topics like factors affecting engine cooling time, different scenarios of cooling the car engine, and ways to cool a car engine down faster.

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

In most cases, an engine needs about 30 minutes to cool down, so as to perform inspections or diagnose certain components. To completely cool the car engine down after usage, it needs to sit in a cool place for about 3 hours.

Factors affecting engine cooling time

These are the following factors that govern the cooling time of a car engine.

Car temperature

It is important to understand that a car with an overheating engine or one that has been running for quite a long time, will need a considerable amount of time to cool down as compared to a car with an engine working normally.

The minimum time to let the engine sit and cool off should not be below 30 minutes and it should be allowed to sit for about an hour in the case of an overheated car engine. After letting it sit, all the servicing and other maintenance work can be performed.

Duration of drive

Another important factor affecting the engine cooling time is the duration of the car being driven. It will completely cool off in an hour if it was driven for a few minutes.

However, if it was driven for many hours to cover extended distances, it will need at least 30 minutes before performing maintenance work and about 3 hours to completely cool off.

Engine size

Although a minor governing factor in engine cooling time, the engine size does play a small role in cooling down the car engine. This is proven by the fact that a four-cylinder car engine cools faster than an eight-cylinder or a twelve-cylinder car engine.

However, it must be kept in mind that the difference in cooling time should not exceed 15 minutes. Since the minimum time required to cool down a car engine is about 30 minutes, the cooling time for a higher cylinder car engine should not exceed 45 minutes.

The temperature of the environment

This is a crucial factor that governs the total time needed to cool off a car engine. In case the environment is somewhere closer to the equator, the car engine is bound to remain hot for longer as the closer it is to the equator, the more it is exposed to the direct rays of the sun.

On the other hand, if the car is being driven in an area closer to the poles, it cools down much faster due to the environment. However, as a safety precaution, it is advisable to let the car sit for at least 30 minutes before proceeding to inspect or perform maintenance on any component. 

Level of coolant in the car engine

The car engine coolant plays a crucial role in keeping the car engine cool and is one of the main concerning factors associated with an overheated car engine.

The coolant levels must be checked on a regular basis and should be topped up in case of coolant expiry or the lack of a sufficient amount inside the engine.

Material of the engine

The material that makes up the engine block is a huge factor that governs the cooling time of a car engine. This is proven by the fact that engine blocks that are made of steel cool faster than those made of aluminum or cast iron.


All car engines are equipped with some amount of insulation capacity. The more insulation provided to a car engine, the longer it takes to cool down. This is because the insulation layers hinder the heat dissipation process thus, making the engine take longer to cool down.

Different scenarios of cooling the car engine

These are the different scenarios when a car engine needs to be cooled down.

Cooling of an overheated engine

An engine might get overheated if the components cannot bear the load conditions or they have been used for an extended period of time. It is important to keep the coolant levels in check and ensure the radiator and water pumps are functioning optimally.

Overheated car engines must be allowed to sit for at least 30 mins before performing any kind of servicing or maintenance work.

Cooling of the engine to change the oil

It must be kept in mind that to change the car engine oil, the engine must not be completely cold, as hotter oil helps to flow better due to the parameter of viscosity coming into play. 

However, the engine should be allowed to sit for about 30 mins after extended use and in case it is already cool, it can be started for a couple of minutes just to warm everything up.

Cooling of the engine for working with parts

The engine must be allowed to sit for longer in case of working with the engine parts, mostly about 3 hours will do the trick. After this time, the engine block may be disassembled and the components of the engine can be worked on.

Ways to cool a car engine faster

These are the following ways that help cool a car engine faster:

  • Opening the hood should be the first step to cooling the car engine down faster, as it will allow the engine to get a larger surface area to cool down.
  • Turning on the heater is an unusual but effective way to cool the car engine as it draws in all the heat from the engine and vents it out into the cabin.
  • Putting the car on neutral gear and attempting to rev it will allow the car to draw in more air and water as it prompts the radiator fan and pumps to work even harder, thus cooling the engine.
  • Controlling the acceleration of the car can also go a long way. There is no need to keep the gas pedal pressed when traversing a terrain at the same speed for an extended duration of time. This will not only promote faster engine cooling but also helps in managing the fuel economy of the car.

Research has shown the parts of an engine cooling system and how they work.


This blog post addressed the question, ‘How long does it take a car engine to cool down?’

We understood the different factors that govern the cooling time of a car engine and also came across the different scenarios where a car engine is allowed to cool. Furthermore, the different ways to cool a car engine faster have also been discussed. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How long does it take a car engine to cool down?

How long does it take an overheated engine to cool off?

An overheated engine needs to be allowed to sit for about 30 minutes to cool it to perform certain inspection and maintenance tasks.

How do you cool down an engine fast?

To cool down an engine faster than normal, the car engine can be placed in neutral gear and we can make an attempt to rev it, which in turn allows the radiator fan and the pumps to draw in more air and water into the engine, thus promoting faster engine cooling.

Can I pour water on my engine to cool it down?

Water should not be poured on the engine before allowing it to sit down for a while as the sudden fluctuation in temperatures can form cracks on the body and give rise to further issues.