When the summer weather hits, it's easy to let maintenance slide on your vehicle, but one thing you don't want to neglect is your cooling system. There's nothing worse than being stranded on a hot day with steam pouring out of your hood because your car overheated. Here's a few tips to make sure you make it to your destination without any long-lasting problems.
- Keep an eye on your temperature gauge. If it starts creeping close to the red zone, turn the air conditioner off, as that puts a big strain on the engine.
- Crank up the heat. While it may cause you discomfort, it will pull some of the heat off the engine and it will be worth it in the long run if it prevents damage.
- If the problem persists, find a safe place to pull over and let the car cool down.
- After the car has cooled a while, pop the hood and check the coolant tank (usually a translucent tank near the front of the car). If it's empty or near empty, you probably have a leak.
- Remove the radiator cap and add (after the engine has cooled to prevent cracking the block) water, coolant or a mixture of half and half. This should get you on your way, but you'll want to get the cooling system inspected as soon as possible to prevent an ongoing problem or permanent damage.
If you're stuck in traffic, the hot weather combined with sitting still may cause overheating without any inherent problem with your car. In that case, occasionally put your vehicle in neutral and rev the engine to get air and water flow through the radiator.
If you still have overheating problems and your coolant tank is full, then you'll need to have a professional mechanic diagnose the problem. A broken thermostat, faulty water pump, bad belt or a leaking hose can also cause an engine to overheat.
Breaking down is never fun, especially on a hot day. If your car has a tendency to overheat, take the precaution of bringing water and coolant with you, and try to determine the cause of the problem and get it fixed. As always, be safe and stay out of the way of traffic if you need to pull over.
Take care of your car. Call ECI Insurance Agency at (405) 373-2977 for more information on Oklahoma City auto insurance.