Home > Ask Gary > How do you prevent overheating?

How do you prevent overheating?

Car-stuck-and-steamingHot weather and heavy traffic are your vehicle’s worst enemies in the summer, especially if there are any potential problems in your vehicle’s cooling system. If left unchecked, it can lead to serious engine damage and large repair bills. In order to minimize the risks of overheating, there are a few key points of maintenance and inspection that could be done prior to your vacation:

1. Be sure your coolant has been changed according to manufacturer’s recommendations, and that the coolant to water ratio is as close to recommended specs as possible. That is vitally important to both proper cooling and prevention of corrosion.

2. Be sure your cooling system is free of air and your water pump and thermostat are working properly. When adding water or coolant to your engine, always make sure to use a distilled water, as normal tap water increases the chance of corrosion and can add minerals to the cooling system.

3. Inspect your radiator for damage to the “fins” and excessive dirt. Remove dirt, tar and bugs, you can improve the efficiency of the cooling system. The radiator should be warm when it’s in use so if it is cold, there may be an internal blockage and you need to get that fixed immediately.

4. Make sure your radiator cap is functioning properly. Boiling sounds during normal operation may be a sign that your cap is not maintaining adequate pressure to prevent boiling, and boiling can reduce the effectiveness of your radiator.

5. Check your fans. While fans may do little to nothing during extended trips at highway speeds, they are invaluable if you are stuck in traffic, as they are the sole source of airflow when your vehicle is at a stop. Allow your car to idle and listen for the fans to switch on after a few minutes. If they do not, you may require a new switch or new fans themselves to help fight off overheating.

6. In hot climates or heavy traffic, overly large aftermarket front-mount intercoolers can cause overheating. Your radiator requires ample airflow to transfer away heat, so if an overly large and hot intercooler is blocking airflow, as well as increasing the amount of heat it is forced to deal with, there is a good chance your vehicle will overheat.

Your vehicle overheating is one of the worst nightmares for a summer vacation or even a daytrip. It can certainly be prevented by keeping up with your maintenance schedule. We don’t expect you to be trained mechanics, so bring it to the Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion Service Department, where we have specially-trained mechanics who will help you prevent any summer car problems, particularly overheating. We’re here Monday through Saturday for your convenience. By the way, don’t forget to have us check your air conditioning to be certain it is working properly, particularly in older vehicles. We often run seasonal specials so check our website for current offers.

Have a wonderful summer and stay safe on the roads!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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