While you get ready to hit the road this summer, keep your vehicle in top performance by avoiding an overheated engine. High temperatures, long road trips, hot pavement on roads, stop-and-go traffic, and pulling trailers and boats can go hand-in-hand with summer adventures, but can also take a toll on vehicles. Understanding how your car stays cool and what to do if your engine overheats will help avoid damage to your vehicle and keep you on the road.
Coolant: The Key Component
Your vehicle’s cooling system works hard in summer to keep your engine running at the proper temperature. Stay up to date on cooling system maintenance to make sure the radiator is free of leaks that lead to damaged hoses. If the cooling system leaks coolant, the engine can quickly overheat and melt down. Make sure coolant levels are kept high throughout the hot months and before taking any long road trips.
Other Maintenance Considerations
Stay on top of oil changes and periodically check the engine oil level. An engine can overheat more easily when low oil causes friction. An oil change should also include an inspection of the cooling fan, as a broken fan can lead to overheating.
What To Do If Your Engine Begins to Overheat
- Keep your eye on the vehicle’s temperature gauge and dashboard warning lights on long trips and in high heat. If you notice overheating, pull over as soon as you can (preferably into a shaded area) and shut off the engine to avoid system damage. If you cannot pull over immediately, run the heating system until you can safely pull off the road. This pulls heat away from the engine.
- Wait until the vehicle cools down before you touch anything under the hood. Hot engine parts can cause burns, and overheated radiator systems may be under pressure, which can cause serious injury if the cap is removed too soon.
- Once the systems cools, add more coolant if needed, and inspect hoses for holes and blockages.
Carry Emergency Supplies
Just in case of a breakdown in high heat, carry an emergency supply kit in the vehicle. We recommend including drinking water for each passenger, jumper cables, a portable car battery charger, energy snacks, any form of sun protection (sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, umbrella, and blanket or tarp for shade), work gloves, and extra coolant.
Turk’s Collision Center is a state-of-the art auto body and collision repair shop located in East Peoria, Illinois. Find out more about us by visiting our website or by calling (309) 694-2905 today. For more helpful auto safety and maintenance tips, visit our blog!