According to scientists, 2016 and 2017 were both two of the hottest years on record. If the trend holds, we’re likely to see some blazing temperatures in 2018 as well.
The implications of this on the macro level are possibly alarming, but that’s a conversation for a different time. On the micro level, however, we know that intense summer heat can have some disastrous effects on your car.
As a car owner, it is of the utmost importance to keep your vehicle cool during the summer months.
In this article, we’ll give you 10 tips on how to stop a car from overheating.
You Asked, We Answered: How to Stop a Car From Overheating
A hot car is more than just unpleasant to sit in. That heat can also wreak havoc on every component of your car, from your dashboard to your engine parts. If you want to keep your car safe, you’ll want to follow these tips.
1. Check Your Temperature Gauge
First things first, you should always check to see if your car is actually dealing with heat issues before you take any possibly unnecessary preventative measures.
The temperature gauge of your car should be on your dashboard. The meter typically has a thermometer symbol in the center with red and blue blocks on either side. A needle should ideally always be pointing in the center of this meter.
If you’re driving and you notice the need creeping all the way over to the hot side, you’ll want to pull off to the side of the road and let your engine cool off.
2. Park in the Shade
We all know how much it stinks to get into a hot car after it’s been baking in a parking lot for four hours. The leather of your seats are hot and sticky to the touch, and the metal of your seatbelt sizzles against your skin. It’s unpleasant.
But more than that, the heat can do terrible things to your engine. Engines already get super hot when they’re running, but the problem is exacerbated if the engine is starting up at an already sweltering heat.
Because of this, you should park your car in the shade when you can. And if you have a garage, use it.
You may also want to use a sunshade for your windshield. It might just prevent your dashboard from melting.
3. Tint Your Windows
This won’t protect your engine from the heat, but it will keep your interior from melting. You can also try cracking a window, so at the very least the hot air in your car will circulate.
4. Blast the Heat
This sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but it actually works by drawing hot air away from your engine. It won’t permanently fix the overheating issues, but if you’re in need of a quick fix it’s a good option.
5. Replace Your Battery
If you have a battery older than 3 years or so, there’s a good chance that it may not be performing like it should. If it isn’t providing adequate power, your car’s engine might be working harder than it needs to, leading to overheating.
If you suspect your battery is the culprit, you may need to see a mechanic for verification.
6. Check the Radiator
If your overheating issues are chronic, you’ll want to inspect your radiator. In particular, you should check the pressure cap and overflow tanks for signs of leakage.
A leak will reduce the amount of engine coolant in your radiator, leading to A/C and engine malfunction. You might find that you have to replace your radiator altogether.
7. Replace Your Radiator Fan
Your radiator also has a fan that cools down the coolant and other components of your engine. If it isn’t whirring when you start your car or isn’t spinning very quickly, you’ll probably have to see a mechanic immediately.
8. Use Engine Coolant
A lack of engine coolant is probably your culprit if your car is constantly overheating. Many people neglect this part, but it’s essential if you don’t want to destroy your engine in the summer months. Top it off at your first chance. It’ll save you a lot of headaches.
If you are good at providing a consistent supply of coolant for your engine, you may still want to replace the coolant every now and then. Over time, the coolant gets dirty, so you’ll want to have your mechanic flush your system.
The general rule of thumb is that you should do this every 40,000 miles or so.
9. Use the “Fresh Air” A/C Setting
Your air-conditioning system may have a different name for it, but the “Fresh Air” or “Re-circulation” setting on your A/C can really help cool your car down. This setting draws in air from outside instead of sucking in the air already in your car.
If your car’s been sitting outside for a long time, the interior air is likely much hotter than the outdoor air. This makes your A/C, your radiator, and your battery work much harder to cool the air down to the designated temperature.
10. Replace Your Motor Oil
The motor oil on your engine is what keeps everything running smoothly in your engine, literally. It lubricates all the moving parts and prevents unnecessary friction in your engine.
If your engine is low on motor oil, it will not only go through excessive wear-and-tear, it’ll get hot. If you’ve ever had a rug burn, you can understand what that’ll do to an engine.
Imagine getting a rug burn 840 times per minute. That’s what your engine goes through.
Need Help Keeping Your Car in Top Shape?
With these tips, you should now know how to stop a car from overheating. It’s really just a matter of staying on top of your car’s necessary maintenance. All your engine needs is a little bit of tender lovin’ care.
You can try all the tricks in the book, but sometimes some new equipment is all you need to keep your car cool.