Summer is just about over in Colorado, but that doesn't mean overheating still isn't a concern for many drivers. In fact, the engine overheating is something that can happen any time of year and in any type of weather, especially when dealing with mountain driving. It is definitely more of a threat in the warm summer months. However, if you are not taking care of your vehicle's cooling system, it can be a recurring problem.
Here are a few tips from Colorado Springs' own LightHouse Automotive to help keep your car from overheating:
1. Check the Coolant Level
You can check the engine coolant (radiator fluid) in your radiator. Just make sure and do it when the car is turned off and the engine is completely cooled down. If the radiator cap is under heat and pressure when you try to open it, it can be quite dangerous. If the coolant level is low, add some more. You can buy a concentrated coolant and mix it with about a 50/50 water ratio or you can purchase a pre-mixed coolant that already has the proper amount of water in it.
2. Have Your Radiator Professionally Flushed
Like all automotive fluids, coolant can deteriorate with time. It can get dirty, contaminated and gunky, or it eventually just thickens through regular circulation through the vehicle's cooling system. If the fluid level is low and the fluid itself looks dirty, thick or burnt, you may be overdue for a cooling system service. LightHouse Automotive can flush your radiator and replace it with fresh coolant.
3. Use the Fresh Air Option
If you are worried about your car overheating, you can turn on the fresh air vent option instead of the recirculating air option. This brings fresh air in from outside and the A/C system doesn't have to work quite as hard as it does when recirculating the same hot air inside the vehicle.
4. Use the Floor Vents
Remember that hot air rises and you can actually cool down the inside of your car quicker using the floor vents instead of the top vents. If you want to crank up the A/C, do it through the floor vents first. The car will cool down quickly and then you can switch back to the upper vents at a slower fan speed to maintain the ideal temperature.
5. Monitor Your Temperature Gauge
Always keep an eye on the vehicle's temperature gauge. It will let you know if the engine is running too hot or too cold. You should never push the vehicle too hard when it's running cold. If it is getting too hot and nearing the state of overheating, pull over and turn off the engine. Let the vehicle cool down before driving again. If it continues to run hot or actually does overheat, then you will want to get your cooling system looked at by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.
6. Turn on the Heat
It can be uncomfortable to turn on the heat when it's already hot inside the car, but it is a proven method to help take some of the heat off the engine and help it cool down while you are driving. This may be your best option on a long drive when you don't have time to pull over and wait it out. You can turn on the heat and roll down your windows to keep it from feeling too stifling inside the car.
7. Check the Battery
If you have an old or weak car battery, it will have to work harder to produce power to run the vehicle. This puts more strain on the engine and can be a cause for overheating problems. It may be time to replace your battery.
8. Keep the Vehicle Cool
On really hot days, try to find shady spots to park. Get window shades to keep the interior cool. Maybe even consider getting your windows tinted. Keeping the interior of the vehicle cooler will keep you from having to crank up the air conditioning all the time and that will help prevent overheating. Even the sun beating down on the hood for long periods will heat up the entire engine compartment and make everything run hotter, so that's why it's good to park in the shade when it's hot outside.
These are just a few tips to help you keep your engine from overheating and to keep your vehicle running well in the warm summer months and beyond.
If you are experiencing overheating problems or any other cooling system issues, call LightHouse Automotive today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.