#Damitishotinla - or, Tips to Prevent Overheating your Car
By AskPatty on May 14, 2014
Who doesn’t believe in climate change? First it was Arctic cold temperatures during the “Polar Vortex” of winter, and now summer is swooping in as extreme and record-challenging heat grips the Los Angeles area.
It’s so hot in Los Angeles that actor Wil Wheaton is joking about the sudden heatwave on Twitter, saying “I bet if you get people to RT the hashtag #damitishotinla it will raise awareness and solve the problem right away.”
Well, retweeting the #damitishotinla hashtag may not actually solve the problem, so here are some useful tips to help keep your car from overheating and #BringBackOurCools.
First, check your fluids.
The five most important fluids in your car are the engine oil, transmission fluid, radiator coolant, and brake and power steering fluids. Now is a good time to get out your owner’s manual and take a look at your fluids to make sure they are at proper levels and quality. Because of the heat and especially if you sit in bumper to bumper traffic, you’ll definitely want to make sure your coolant looks fresh, and that your engine oil is in good shape. Learn more about how to check these five essential fluids here at Lifehacker.
Second, check your battery.
Although the average battery life is three to five years, the national Car Care Council recommends having batteries tested annually to prevent a breakdown during the hottest or coldest months of the year.
According to the Car Care Council, excessive heat and overcharging are two of the main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, this damaging the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate. That's slow death for a battery.
Be sure to keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow. Motorists who are concerned that their batteries may be failing should get them checked or replaced immediately.
Next, check your cooling system.
The radiator should be kept clean by periodically using a garden hose and a soft brush to carefully remove bugs, dirt, and debris.
The cooling system also works harder during hot temperatures to prevent overheating of the engine. To keep the cooling system working effectively, the coolant and distilled water mixture for a vehicle's radiator should be 50:50. As a reminder, never open a hot radiator cap when checking the coolant level in the reservoir.
While some technicians may suggest changing the coolant annually, Jay Buckley, Technical Training Director at Prestone, says the typical coolant change interval is five years or 100,000 miles on most vehicles. Buckley stresses it's important to perform this service at whichever interval comes FIRST, before the corrosion inhibitors expire; keeping the coolant fresh helps prevent corrosion and assures that the coolant has the proper boiling point and protection.
Finally, check your hoses.
Check hoses and drive belts for cracks, bulges, or frayed edges. When the engine is cold, visually check for cracks or small leaks. Also, squeeze your radiator and heater hoses: A hose that is particularly hard when squeezed is most likely deteriorating and should be replaced. Exceptionally soft hoses should be replaced as well. After driving your car long enough to allow the engine to become warm, look carefully at all hoses to spot any swollen areas, which will indicate the weak spots. Obviously, turn off the engine and use caution as engine parts may be hot. After the engine has cooled, check around hose connections for wetness, deposits, or fluid build-up that could identify any minor leaks that occur after the engine has cooled down and all expansion and contraction of the components has occurred.
"It takes very little time and money to make sure your car runs properly during summer, and although breakdowns happen, they can definitely be minimized by taking a few extra preventive maintenance steps," says Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. Following these tips should keep you traveling comfortably during the hot summer weather.
Finally, if you're if you’re concerned about overheating your car in summer heat, visit us at AskPatty.com to learn some tricks you can do to help prevent having to pull over in a place you'd rather not.
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