Help Your Car Keep Its Cool

Dear Tracy,

As the temperatures rise, I am worried about my car overheating. This summer I have a delivery job that will require me to be on the road most of the day. What should I be doing to make sure my car does not get overheated?

Kris B.

Dear Kris,

You are smart to be thinking ahead about the possibility of your car overheating. That is a very bad situation which can leave you stranded and with a very big auto service bill. Depending on age and condition of your car, you may want to have your car’s cooling system inspected before the temperatures get too intense.

Here are the basic parts of your cooling system, which you will want to have checked out in order to avoid a meltdown:

Radiator – Make sure that your radiator is in good condition, and that the radiator core has not been damaged by salt corrosion. Another problem to check for is a plugged radiator core, which can happen when coolant flushes are neglected.

Coolant – Anti-freeze and coolant are critical to your car’s heating and cooling system. Having the coolant flushes performed per your owner’s manual recommendation is critical in assuring your engine runs cooler and cleaner.

Thermostat – If you have an older car, you may need to have the thermostat replaced when you have cooling system service performed. A failing thermostat is a common cause of engine overheating.

Cooling Fans – Overheating can result from cooling fan failure. Often problems with the air conditioning system can be a sign that you have a cooling fan issue. Have cooling fans inspected so you and your car don’t have to take the heat.

Belts and Hoses – Check the condition of the belts and hoses in your cooling system. Make sure they are tight and in good condition, and free from cracks or rubber deterioration.

Water Pump – An experienced repair technician is usually able to spot a water pump that is about to fail. A break in the water pump will often cause a coolant leak, so if you notice the coolant level dropping at a faster rate, you may have a water pump problem.