As the summer rolls around and the temperatures begin to rise, you may be planning road trips and vacations to the beach or a local, national park to take advantage of the excellent weather. Unfortunately, cars don’t love the heat as much as you do. Vehicles are much more likely to overheat during the summer. As well as leading to an uncomfortable journey for you, an overheated engine can cause considerable damage to your car. That’s why you should learn a few tricks to prevent your car from overheating.
1. Use a Car Cover From Overheating
A car cover can protect your vehicle from all kinds of damaging elements, from tree sap and bird poop to moisture and acid rain. Many car covers also act as a shield against the sun’s harsh heat and harmful UV rays. If you don’t have a garage or covered parking space, you may have to leave your car in the blazing hot sun for hours at a time. In this case, an insulated car cover made with UV-resistant fabric goes a long way in keeping your car cool. Car and truck covers are also portable and easily packed in your trunk, so, when you’re on a trip, your car can be as protected as it is at home.
2. Park in the Shade Whenever Possible
If you’ve ever gotten into a car that’s been left in the scorching sun for a few hours, you know just how hot it can get inside a vehicle. Just as you protect yourself from harmful UV rays, you must protect your car. In addition to causing a car’s paintwork to fade over time, the sun can damage the vehicle’s inside, particularly the elements made of plastic. Apart from the long-term issues caused by frequent sun exposure, getting into a hot car is such an unpleasant experience that you’ll want to avoid it at all costs. The high internal temperature forces you to open the windows wide or blast the AC, and both increase fuel consumption. On top of that, any of your personal items, from makeup to electronics, can be rendered unusable after a long stint in a car parked in full view of the sun. Whenever possible, opt for a shaded parking space, even if it means parking a block or two from your destination.
3. Consider Tinted Windows
When considering the benefits of tinted windows, you may focus on privacy, security, and even style, but one of their significant advantages is heat control. Window tints or heat reflective window films can reduce the temperature inside the vehicle and protect the interior of your car from the sun’s UV rays. This window treatment not only prevents the car’s interior from fading over time but also makes for a much more comfortable environment for your passengers. On a sunny day, the heat and glare let in by the windows can be highly uncomfortable. Talk with your local body shop or dealership to see if tinted windows are right for you.
4. Manage Your Coolant Levels From Overheating
While measures such as using car covers and parking in the shade can lower your vehicle’s overall temperature, it’s also crucial to do everything you can to ensure the engine doesn’t overheat. Your car’s radiator uses a diluted form of antifreeze known as a coolant to regulate the engine’s temperature. Just as you check your car’s oil level regularly, you should also keep an eye on the coolant level because it will drop as time passes.
As you inspect your coolant levels, look out for debris or discoloration, as this can be an indicator that your coolant system needs cleaning. A coolant flush, also known as a radiator flush, will drain out old coolant, clean the radiator, and refill it with fresh coolant. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations of how often your car needs this service. This kind of maintenance is crucial during the summer months when cars are more likely to overheat.
It’s a smart idea to carry extra coolant in your car along with your other emergency equipment. Just make sure that the coolant you carry has been mixed so that it’s half coolant, half water. You should never add coolant to a hot engine, so, if you’ve been driving and think your radiator needs more, wait a while until it’s cooled down.
5. Continually Monitor Your Overheating Temperature Gauge
Your car’s temperature gauge, which is on the dashboard, lets you know how hot your engine is. Get into the habit of keeping tabs on it to check the needle is where it should be, pointing toward the center. If it begins to point at Hot, pull your vehicle over and let it cool down. To allow some of the excess heat to escape and help the engine cool down faster, open the hood. However, be extremely careful when you open it, as a burst of hot air may blow out.
6. Turn On the Heaters
Unsurprisingly, most vehicles start to Overheating on hot summer days, and it might seem counter-intuitive, not to mention downright uncomfortable, to blast the heat when you’re already sweating. Still, it’s a helpful trick that could save you in a pinch. When you switch on the heater, it blows excess heat from the engine into the car, effectively cooling the engine. Of course, this is not a long-term solution, but it should reduce the heat enough to get you home safely.
Be Ready for Anything
There are many reasons why your car might overheat. Keeping up-to-date with necessary maintenance and taking it to a quality mechanic when required is the best way to avoid a bad situation. These tips and tricks can help you cruise safely during the hot summer months and give you an idea of what to do if overheating does occur.