Tips to prevent your engine overheating this summer!
While we’ve been experiencing a pleasant cool snap this week, East Tennessee’s usual hot, muggy weather is expect to return next week – and with it, greater potential for your vehicle to overheat. To avoid that possibility, here are some tips for helping your engine keep its cool in the summer’s heat.
Keep an eye on your temperature gauge.This may seem obvious, but while most drivers regularly check their fuel gauges and speedometers, many never bother to glance at the temperature gauge until they have a problem. So locate your temperature indicator and make a practice of checking it while driving until you have familiarized yourself with what the usual reading is. Once acquainted with the “normal” temperature range for your car, you’ll know to get the engine checked if the gauge starts giving different readings.
Look for leaks.If your temperature indicator keeps going up when you drive, check for leaks from your radiator or hoses. The radiator needs fluid to keep the engine cool, so if fluid is being lost, it can’t do its job. The clearest sign of a leak will be a pool of liquid under your parked vehicle. Radiator fluid comes in a variety of colors and often has a sickly sweet odor. If you discover such a puddle, clean it up (it’s poisonous to animals) and then get your car to us fast.
Check your belts.Belts help transfer power from the alternator to other components. If they aren’t in good shape, or if they are loose, the alternator must work harder to make the energy transfer, and that extra work results in more heat under your hood, which adds heat to the engine. Examine the edges of belts for fraying or wear. If they look worn and ragged and they don’t feel taut, most likely it’s time to replace them.
Pull over if the engine is running hot.If you are driving and the temperature gauge starts climbing, get out of traffic, pull to the shoulder, turn off the car and let it cool down. Depending on the size of your vehicle, this can take 30 minutes or longer. After it has cooled down, start the car and let it run for a short time. If the temperature reading is in your normal range, you can probably drive it to the nearest Free Service Tire for service. If the indicator quickly begins to climb into the danger zone, call for a tow. If you are stuck in traffic and the indicator is nearing the red zone, turn off the air conditioner and open the windows. If the temperature continues to rise, put your heater on its highest setting and turn it on. This will draw some of the heat away from the engine. But you can’t drive on a hot day with the heater blowing, so pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and follow the steps above.
Even if your engine isn’t running hot, giving your radiator and hoses regular maintenance is a good idea. At Free Service Tire, we know all about radiators, so why not schedule a check-up with us today?