Which season is harder on our cars: winter or summer? It’s hard to be sure, but we can definitely say that temperature and weather extremes are rarely kind to our vehicles. One hazard to be conscious of in the summer is the potential to overheat your car – maybe you already know your vehicle is prone to overheating, but even if it’s never happened to you before, checking and maintaining your cooling fluid and systems is always a good idea.
Why do cars overheat?
The most common cause of overheating is low coolant. This vital fluid circulates through your vehicle’s system to remove heat from the engine. For a full analysis of how the cooling system used in cars works, watch the video below:
Sometimes, overheating can be caused by cooling fans, belts or switches malfunctioning. It can also be caused by a thermostat that’s not opening or a clogged radiator.
How to avoid overheating
1. Check your coolant fluid, hoses and systems.
2. Check your fan belts.
3. Check your car’s thermostat.
4. Inspect your car’s radiator (over 50,000 miles).
What to do if your car overheats
- You can try to avoid overheating by turning off your A/C, opening your windows and cranking the heat to direct heat away from your engine.
- Pull your vehicle over and find a safe location.
- Don’t open the hood or touch the car until it has cooled (or until the temperature gauge returns to a normal position). It usually takes about 30 minutes for a vehicle to cool down completely.
- Check the coolant level. Water can also do the trick in a pinch, but don’t pour cold water into a still-hot radiator.
- If you have a more serious problem, like a coolant leak or bad hose, you may need to call for a tow.