Avoid an overheating car with these tipsby Ali's Woodinville on 08/03/13
It's the middle of a beautiful summer, and although it's cooled off for just a few days here in the Puget Sound, we've got at lease a month of warm-hot weather left. We want to keep our customers of Woodinville, Bothell, and Kenmore WA "in the know" about what they can do to protect against an overheating vehicle.
We always like to use an outside source, so that you don't have to take our word for it. There is an article at autos.aol.com that does a great job of laying out all of the ways you can be safe and avoid car overheat problems. We added some of our own comments in parantheses.
It is such a terrible thing to see a good car need a whole new engine due to the heat, and it's worse knowing that it could have been avoided. Here are tips that could save you thousands of dollars:
1. If your battery is three years old, consider replacing it as a matter of preventive maintenance. Batteries get stressed in extreme temperatures, and the older they get, the more stressed they get.
2. Have your cooling service checked by a mechanic (have it checked by Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair of course!) or the dealer if it has not been looked at in two years. This system is critical to keeping the engine cool and the air conditioning system working right. Let it break for lack of simple maintenance, and it is not cheap to fix or replace.
3. If you are driving, stuck in traffic, the temperature light goes on and you are in the danger zone, turn off the air conditioner immediately and open the windows. If the light stays on, turn the temperature selector to the hottest setting. This will redirect some of the heat that is trapped in the cooling system. If the light stays on, pull over and call road-side assistance. Stop driving. If the light goes off, you should be okay to drive the car to a mechanic. (In fact, any time that you are driving in hot weather and traffic starts to slow, it's a good idea to lay off the air conditioning altogether. At least make sure to keep a sharp eye on the temperature guage. It's harder for your car to stay cool at slow speed or at idle.)
4. Make sure you have fresh coolant in your radiator to start the summer, not just water. Have the radiator checked specifically for corrosion. (I don't know why THIS isn't tip number one! If you notice leaks in the system, or are having trouble keeping enough coolant in there, get your car in to us to have the system examined. It's well worth the precautionary visit.)
5. Look at your tires. If you have worn or cracked tires, you are asking for big trouble in very hot weather. Not only could you blow the tires, but a blow-out at high speeds could cause you to crash, rollover and possibly hit another vehicle. (Not really an overheating engine tip, but an important HOT WEATHER tip.)
6. If you drive long stretches of road on a summer trip, keep a gallon jug of water somewhere in the car. It could come in handy if you have a radiator leak, or you get stuck waiting for help and need water yourself to feel cool and comfortable. (We could also cover this in a list of emergency items you should always have in your car.....maybe we'll do that in the next blog post!)