How to Prevent a Car from Overheating
And other summer driving tips…
All across the Midwest the temperatures are getting hotter as we head into the summer months. And few places get hotter than the machinery beneath your automobile’s hood. Paule, your friendly local towing company here in Belleville, IL, wants to remind you of all the factors that we see causing engines to overheat and inconvenient roadside breakdowns.
We urge you to act on this information and hare this with someone who needs a reminder of how to keep things cool when it gets hot.
Car Overheating Causes
There are many factors that might lead to your car overheating, and fortunately most of them are completely preventable with a few minutes of car care while things are still relatively cool outside. We’ll take these in the order of importance. Most of these items can be checked by a person who is fairly knowledgable about cars, but to be on the safest side, you might want to schedule a check up with your mechanic.
It is important to note that if you aren’t completely sure about what you’re doing you should be very careful upon opening your hood. The engine compartment can be extremely hot and the moving parts can hurt you badly, so if you’re not absolutely sure about what you’re doing, take your car to a pro.
Check Your Cooling System
The cooling system circulates coolant (otherwise known as antifreeze) through your engine block, keeping things at a temperature that prevents damage. Too much heat build up can cause the engine to fail. You or your mechanic should make sure that the level is appropriate in the coolant reservoir. Fill or top off to the recommended coolant levels.
Check the ground beneath where you normally park to look for leaks of fluids. Coolant can be identified by its sweet smell and green, orange or blue color. If you find leaks, call your mechanic.
Water Pump Issues
A faulty water pump can stop coolant flow immediately. When your pump is bad your car overheats and replacement is usually the only option.
Clogged or dirty radiators mean that the blades can’t dissipate excessive heat the way they were designed. It’s important to keep your radiator clean in order to keep air flowing and to keep engine temperatures within the safe range.
The engine’s radiator fan propels heat away from the engine and it is cooled through the radiator blades as coolant courses through the radiator. A faulty fan, switch or wiring can cause lack of airflow. Again, it is important to point out that you should not go near the fan blades even if the car isn’t running because the automatic timer connected to the engine temperature gauge may activate the fan even with the engine off.
Insufficient Oil Level
Another factor in the cooling of your engine involves reducing the heat build up from the friction of the mechanical components. Engine oil is the lubricant that keeps things from getting too hot as they move within the engine, propelling your car.
If your engine oil is not at the recommended level you should top it off. Also engine oil changes are recommended every 3000 – 4000 miles. Your oil change service should place a sticker on your windshield indicating when service should be performed. If the milage or the date have been passed it is a good idea to bring your car in for oil service. Consult your owner’s manual for oil change recommendations and suggested oil types.
Faulty Belts and Hoses
Belts keep things running in time and hoses provide coolant to the places that need it. It’s important that hoses and belts are secured properly and in good condition. Because they are pliable they become worn out and when they break the results are often an overheated engine and a roadside breakdown.
Schedule a Summer Check Up
We recommend checking in from time to time before the extremes of Summer and Winter to have your repair shop mechanic take a look at the general condition of your car. He or she will suggest maintenance and give you an overall idea of problems before they cause a break down.
If, on the other hand, you do suffer a breakdown and require a tow truck, Paule is always here to help. We’re available 24/7. You can always call us at: (618) 233-7464 or schedule an appointment online with the contact form on this page.