Now that we’re in the heat of summer and the temperature is reminding us of it every day, you have to safeguard your engine from overheating so that you don’t have to worry about seeing that temperature gauge rise in your vehicle.
There are a few common reasons that engines overheat. The most common problem for overheated engines is low coolant. Your engine relies on coolant to circulate and remove heat from the engine. If you are low on coolant, heat will build up and your engine will overheat. Another common reason for overheated engines is clogged radiators. This typically occurs when a car has more than 50,000 miles on it. Radiators can get gummed up and not work properly. You can avoid this by flushing your radiator every year (which we can do for you!). Other common reasons for radiator failure have to do with broken or malfunctioning fans, fan switches or fan belts.
During the hot months, it’s a good idea to carry an extra bottle of coolant or antifreeze in your car so you can top it off if you’re worried your engine is overheating. Also, a water bottle will temporarily do the trick if you don’t have any coolant.
If you notice your car overheating, the first thing to do is switch off the A/C and roll the windows down. The A/C puts a lot of strain on your engine so this should help cool it off. Another good thing to do is crank your heater up to full blast which will transfer heat away from the engine to help cool it. If nothing seems to be working, then turn off your car. Wait for the engine to cool, which will take about 30 minutes and then once it’s cooled, take a look at the coolant tank. It’s usually a plastic tank near the radiator. If it’s empty, you may have sprung a leak. Take a look under the car to see if there is a puddle or drip. If so, then you definitely have a leak.
If it a leak, top off your radiator with some coolant or water. Make sure your radiator is not hot when you do this! Pouring cold water into a still-hot radiator could cause the engine block to crack, due to the sudden change in temperature. If you don’t have any coolant and are only adding water, remember that most cars require a 50/50 mix of coolant with water so you will need to add coolant later on for your car to run properly.
If it’s not a leak, then it’s probably an electric problem and you will need to take your car into your local mechanic.
The best prevention method you can take to prevent your radiator from overheating is regular maintenance, especially oil changes and checking your coolant. Just like we said last week, bring your car into TLC before long trips to make sure you are in tip-top shape and while you’re on long trips, just keep an eye on the temperature gauge and coolant near you to keep your ride cool and calm!