Home > Ask Gary > With these hot temperatures, is there a way to prevent my car from overheating?

With these hot temperatures, is there a way to prevent my car from overheating?

Overheating1Yes, there is a way to prevent overheating with proper maintenance. Bring your vehicle into Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion’s Service Department and we can be sure to do the following to prevent overheating:

1. Make sure your coolant system is topped off with antifreeze.

2. Check all hoses to be certain they are in good condition so they don’t corrode or leak.

3. Change your oil. If you change your oil yourself, check the water system, hoses, and belts. A good visual inspection is important. If you see something that doesn’t look right, bring it in.

4. Check your fan. Sometimes fans don’t operate properly and can cause the engine to overheat, so checking that is also important.

If your vehicle does overheat, you want to be sure you do everything to stay safe. As soon as you see smoke or steam coming from the engine, pull off to the side of the road and follow these steps:

1. Turn the engine off, open the hood and let it cool down.
Normally your car will have warning lights and a pressure relief valve. If your engine starts to overheat, it will give you plenty of warning before you could actually damage anything. You really can’t address any of the problems though until the engine cools off. Monitor the temperature gauge to catch it before it overheats; take notice if you see the needle moving up toward hot rather than staying in the middle.
If the gauge is already indicating the engine is overheating,  turn off the air conditioning and roll down the windows. Turning the heat on can help to pull the heat away from the engine.

2. Do not take off the radiator cap until the engine is cool.
Be safe as you don’t want to get burned.  Do not uncap the radiator or water system. The pressure will be high and it will blow off.

3. Refill antifreeze and coolant.
Once everything cools down, open the system up and fill it back up with new antifreeze. The coolant tank is generally a translucent plastic tank near the radiator. If it is empty, you may have sprung a leak. If you look under the vehicle and you see a drip or puddle, the tank is leaking.
If you have a leak, carefully open the radiator cap. Place a cloth over the radiator cap to protect your hand, and tilt the cap away from you as it opens. Refill the cooled radiator with your spare coolant or water. Do not pour cold water into a still-hot radiator — it could cause the engine block to crack due to the sudden change in temperature. If you absolutely have to add water while the engine is still warm, pour slowly while the engine is running in neutral or park.

4. Check hoses for leaks, blockages or bursts.
Conduct a visual inspection to see if you have a leak or something that caused your engine to overheat because a vehicle doesn’t usually overheat without a reason. Chances are you either have a leak in the coolant system, or a thermostat went bad, which can happen. It is more common for older vehicles, but we recommend a professional technician address the thermostat.

5. Keep a safety kit in your car.
Have a kit that contains coolant, a tool kit, a blanket, a working flashlight, non-perishable foods and water in the car at all times. By the way, an engine can overheat at other times of the year beside summer.

Come see us to have your vehicle checked out to avoid the hassle and frustration of being on the side of the road.  We’re here for you 6 days a week and you can book a service appointment online.

Drive safely, enjoy the beautiful weather, and keep your cool, even when your vehicle can’t!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary
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