Driving in the summer heat is rough on your vehicle, especially during road trips. It is important for drivers to be aware of the punishing effects extreme heat can have their cars.
One problem excessive heat can lead to is an overheated engine, which can compromise engine components and cause serious damage requiring expensive repairs. Engine overheating is also a dangerous situation that can quickly put you and your passengers in danger. When the engine exceeds 230 degrees Fahrenheit, is overheated, and at temperatures above 245 degrees Fahrenheit, engine damage may result. Make sure your vehicle’s cooling system working properly to avoid overheating.
Before you head off on your next long drive, take some time to review these eight checks to help your vehicle beat the heat:
- Batteries – Have your battery tested to be sure it is strong enough to endure the heat. People think of dead battery problems in the winter, but many do not realize hot summer temperatures can be just as rough on batteries.
- Tires– Keep your tires inflated to the pressure recommended for your vehicle. Soft, under-inflated tires generate heat, can result in a blowout.
- Coolant– Have the cooling system flushed and new coolant installed when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer as part of scheduled maintenance. Depending on the type of coolant used, this is usually required every two to five years.
- Radiator – Have your radiator checked to be sure it is in good condition and that the fluid level is correct. Another issue to watch for is a plugged radiator core. This problem can happen when coolant flushes are not performed.
- Cooling Fans – Cooling fans should be regularly checked to avoid engine problems. A cooling fan failure can lead to engine overheating problems. In some cases, trouble with the air conditioning system can be a sign that you have a cooling fan problem.
- Thermostat – Have your thermostat inspected. A bad thermostat is a common cause of engine overheating. A failing thermostat can also be indicated by the check engine light illuminating or the car heater not working.
- Water Pump – A compromised water pump will often cause a coolant leak, so if you notice the coolant level dropping at a faster rate, you should have it checked as soon as possible.
- Belts and Hoses – The belts and hoses in your cooling system should be checked to make sure they are tight and in good condition. Cracks or deterioration of the rubber are signs of trouble.