Home > Ask Gary > How do I prevent my vehicle from over-heating?

How do I prevent my vehicle from over-heating?

car_overheating2Happy summer everyone! I’m often asked: “How can I prevent my vehicle from over-heating?” I find that most people pay more attention to their vehicles in the winter and forget that summertime can bring its own set of issues. The heat wave we’re experiencing can put added stress on your vehicle. So here are tips for preventing over-heating and for summer vehicle maintenance:

1. Check the water and anti-freeze regularly. Anti-freeze not only protects in winter by keeping the fluid in the cooling system from freezing, but also regulates the boiling temperature of water in the engine’s system. Anti-freeze actually raises the temperature at which engine water will boil. Most vehicles use a ratio of half water to half anti-freeze.

2. Flush the coolant system. Coolant failure is the most common cause of summer breakdowns.

3. Replace the thermostat on your car’s engine if it is not working properly. The engine thermostat registers the temperature of the coolant and opens a valve when the coolant reaches a high temperature. If the thermostat is not working properly, the engine’s fluid will bypass the radiator and keep circulating in the engine.

4. Allow your engine to run while you check the hoses, radiator cap and water pump to check for leaks. Any leaks should be fixed immediately.

5. Check your air conditioning to be sure it is working efficiently. Be sure your vehicle is getting the proper amount of refrigerant.

6. As should be done all year-long, check your fluids. Oil, transmission, brake and power steering fluids should all be clean. Continue to check your tires and have a tune-up to ensure that spark plugs and the fuel filter are in good working order.

If your car does overheat, for your own safety, please follow these simple steps:

1. Immediately pull over and allow the engine to cool down.
2. Turn off the air conditioner.
3. Open the hood, but do not open your radiator pressure cap until the car cools down or you could suffer serious burns.
4. When cool, check the coolant reservoir (which should have a clearly marked cap) and see if you need to add coolant. If your coolant is leaking, you will have to continually replenish it. Pull into locations likely to have a water source or add bottled water and get to a service station as soon as possible.
5. Determine if this is something you can do safely, or better yet, call for roadside assistance if a service station is not nearby or closed on Sundays.

I don’t know what’s worse—waiting for a tow truck or roadside assistance on a cold winter’s day or in 90+ degree weather? These tips should help you avoid that situation all together. Please don’t neglect your vehicle’s need for maintenance in the summer. Before you take your car on an extended vacation or day trip, bring it in for a thorough check-up by calling Jaffarian Toyota Service or Jaffarian Volvo Service Departments or scheduling your service on line. We’re here for you six full days a week and we service all makes and models.

And by the way, never leave your pets in a hot car. Cars reach 125 degrees when closed up in the sun on an 85-degree day within 30 minutes and even with the windows cracked open, they reach dangerous temperatures. Be sure to carry water and stay hydrated—for you, your family, pets and your vehicle!

Have a safe summer to you and your family!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary
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