We are in the midst of a bright, hot summer, which means family vacations, trips to the swimming pool, and frequent engine problems. The big red “H” that signals an engine overheating will unfortunately be an unfriendly sight to many this summer, so make sure you use these tips to do everything you can to prevent engine overheating and know what to do in case it does occur. First, we will discuss how to keep YOU from overheating, then your car.
INSIDE your car
1. Park in the shade
Temperatures can rise to well over 100 F in your car when parked in the sun. Avoid unbearably hot seats and interior by parking your car in the shade.
2. Tint your windows and use a sunshade
If you can’t find a parking shot in the shade, come prepared with tinted windows and a sunshade to keep your cars interior cooler during the summer months.
3. Use the “Fresh Air” setting on your A/C initially
When you’re using the recirculation setting, you are just moving that hot, trapped air around your vehicle. Turn the “Fresh Air” setting on for a few minutes when you first start driving to get the hot, stuffy air out of your car, then switch over to the “Recirculate” or “Max A/C” setting for best A/C cooling.
Under the hood – your engine!
1. Have your cooling system flushed by a mechanic
Even when coolant fluid is kept at the right levels, it will eventually cause build-up and become corrosive and needing to be replaced. It is recommended that you get a coolant flush every 30,000 miles for optimum cooling system efficiency.
2. Check and replace your drive belt regularly
Your vehicle’s drive belt essentially drives everything. If there are any technical issues with your drive belt, there will be no coolant circulation and your engine will overheat almost immediately. You should have your drive belt checked and/or replaced about every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.
3. Make sure you’re all up to date on oil changes
Oil does more than lubricate engine parts. It too helps to remove heat from the engine. If your car is low on oil or has dirty oil, it is going to have a tough time helping remove heat from the engine as well.
4. Get any leaks checked out right away!
If your cooling system starts leaking, engine overheating is imminent – have the system inspected and pressure-tested right away to prevent expensive damage. Pro Tip – if you notice clear water dripping from your car just behind the front passenger tire when you park after running the A/C, don’t worry, that’s just the condensation draining away from the A/C cooling process – nothing to worry about.
If your car does start to overheat (meaning the temperature gauge climbe over ¾ of the way to “H” or you see steam, pull over right away. Turning off the A/C and setting your vehicle’s heater on full HOT and HIGH speed on the blower fan will be uncomfortable, but may just help cool off the engine enough to prevent any damage.
An overheating vehicle is a sign that needs immediate attention. In most cases the original cause is a simple, low-cost repair. Unfortunately, a lot of people ignore the initial problem and end up paying much more for extensive damage as a result. We would much rather maintain your vehicle and fix small things over time, than have to perform expensive, unexpected repairs. We’re pretty sure your wallet would, too.
If your vehicle is showing signs of overheating, or you have any concerns about your cooling system, be sure to give us a call today and we’ll be happy to test and assess the vehicle, provide the proper service and repairs and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. You can check out our specials page for our latest coupons and savings as you get your car road trip and family vacation ready.