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Hot Like a Parked Car: How to Keep Your Car Cool Through the Summer

hot like a parked car

We’ve already shown you how to keep your car’s engine from overheating, but what about the inside of the car? Hot like a parked car isn’t just an expression.

When it is 80 to 100 degrees outside, the inside of your car is 130 to 175 degrees. This extreme rise in temperature happens in as little as 15 minutes.

There are a number of things you can do to cool off your car. There are also things you can do to keep the materials in your car cooler to the touch. Use these tips when you park it during the summer.

Sunshades and Visors

A shade in the windshield blocks the sun’s rays from beating down into your car. This will help keep your car a few degrees cooler so it will cool faster when you start your car.

It will also block the sun’s UV rays from directly hitting the materials on the inside of your car. This will prevent extreme heating, fading, and cracking.

Tinted Windows

This solution is a bigger investment that other option on this list, but it is also one of the most effective. Before you tint your windows, check your state’s laws.

You will be able to tint your side and back windows. The darker you tint the windows the more protection from the sun you will have.

Dash Covers

An upholstered dash cover will help you feel less hot as it will protect you from the hot vinyl. A cover will also protect your car’s vinyl from the sun’s rays. This will prevent fading and cracking over time.

Towel on the Steering Wheel

Buy a steering wheel cover that is fabric. If you don’t want a permanent cover you can lay a towel over your steering wheel. Doing either of these will protect your hands from a superheated steering wheel.

Park in the Shade

Park in the shade whenever you can. The shade can provide a few degrees of relief, especially if you are going to be parked for a while.

The cooler temperatures are worth a long walk through the parking lot. If you can’t get the whole car in the shade, park so the windshield is in the shade.

It is better to have the rear window in the sun. Parking this way will keep the steering wheel and front seats cooler.

Covered Parking or Garage It

Covered and garage parking both keep your car out of direct sunlight and in constant shade. Even a warm garage is a better option than the sun’s rays beating down on your car all day.

Crack the Windows

Don’t leave your windows all the way down, this is a security risk for your vehicle. You only need to crack your windows to benefit from them being opened.

A good rule of thumb is to open them enough to let air flow but not so much that an arm can fit through. You can also open your sunroof with the venting feature.

Doing this will help promote air circulation. The superheated air on the inside of the car will move to the cooler air outside of the vehicle.

Solar Powered Fan

A solar-powered car interior fan used with cracked windows can keep the inside of your car cool. These small fans will circulate the air so it flows out of the cracked windows.

The fan will usually hook onto your side window. Then the fan pulls air from within the car and directs it outside the car.

The constant air circulation will keep your car noticeably cooler. You can also depend on the fan to work as the sun is already out making it a hot summer day.

Towels or Blankets on the Seats

If you have fabric seats this tip won’t help you. Those with vinyl or leather seats will appreciate it.

These materials can get skin blistering hot in the summer. Throw a blanket over your seat so when you come back out the material is cooler.

You can then either sit on the blanket or throw it in your back seat. The blanket stopped the sun from beating down directly on the car’s seat material.

Cool Cushions

Want even cooler seats? Try a seat cooling cushion. It will work to cool your bum and provide extra cushioning.

Open the Doors First

You come back to your car after leaving it parked out in the sun for a few hours. Prepare for the inside of the car to be hot.

Don’t torture yourself by getting in right away. Instead, open the doors and let the air flow through the car for a few minutes.

Doing this works the same as cracking the windows but on a larger scale. For it to be most effective open the doors on either side of the car so the air can flow directly through.

Try This Door Fan Trick

Before you get in the car and start driving roll down the passenger window. Then “fan” the driver’s side door.

This will force air in the car to circulate out quickly. You might look a bit silly in a parking lot, but that is ok for the fastest method to cool a car.

Hot Like a Parked Car

By following these tips, hot like a parked car will be a thing of the past for you. Use a combination of tips to give yourself a multiplied benefit.

For example, use the windshield screen to block the sun’s rays from coming in and directly hitting the materials in your car. Then crack the windows and use the solar fan to keep the air in the car circulating.

If you don’t want to use the sunshade try to cover the areas inside your car. Use a blanket or towel to cover your dash, steering wheel, and seats.

For more information about caring for your car check out our blog.

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Automotive ABCs: What Does a Car Radiator Actually Do?

what does a radiator do

The average cost to repair or replace a car engine ranges between $1,000 and $4,000. When the temperature rises outside, your car is working overtime to stay cool. Your car naturally produces a lot of heat while driving. Other factors like sitting idle and having proper fluids can affect how hot your car runs, too.

The radiator plays a fundamental role in keeping your car cool. If you can learn what it takes to keep it running smoothly, you can protect your engine from blowing.

You should be able to check on your radiator and its fluids, just like your oil. The radiator is a key component in a network of cooling for your car’s engine. Before we can understand what a radiator does in your car, we need to look at the entire system.

Refer to this guide if you feel your car is ever running too hot.

The Engine Cooling System

The engine generated from the motor is based primarily on the pistons constantly pumping to convert fuel into energy. This happens thousands of times per minute, which creates lots of heat. The engine’s cooling system’s job is to transfer that heat away from the core.

There are multiple points of exhaust on an engine that help transfer heat away. Oil also plays a key roll in reducing the amount of friction, which in turn reduces the heat the engine outputs. Keeping your oil clean and topped off is one of the top ways of preventing a car from overheating.

Besides air moving in and around the motor to exhaust heat, special coolant is used to transfer heat. This is where the radiator comes into play.

What Does a Radiator Do?

A special mix of coolant is pumped through your engine to take the heat away from it and “radiate” it out. These fluids are much more effective at absorbing heat than air. The coolant moves from the engine to the radiator to be cooled back down.

Coolant inside the radiator is evenly spread over a large surface area where air is funneled over. The front of the car receives the highest airflow and the radiator’s metal fins can quickly disperse the heat. Some car radiators have an additional fan that moves air out of the car, which is good when sitting idle.

The coolant gets recycled back into the engine, where the whole process begins again. This happens fairly quickly, too, as coolants quickly change states and shed heat through pressure cycles in the radiator.

Parts of a Radiator

To better understand why a radiator is so effective, let’s see how each component works.

The Core

The most obvious and visible part of the radiator. The core is the big metal block on the front of your car behind the grill. This is where all the air is funneled into while you are driving. Some cars have giant three-core radiators, like SUVs and trucks, while others can have just one.

Pressure Cap

On the top of your radiator is a metal valve cap. It usually has a warning label telling you not to open while the engine is hot. This is because the coolant is kept under high pressure. So, if you open that valve up while it’s hot, you could get a face full of scalding steam.

Overflow and Inlet Tanks

The engine needs a lot of coolant to keep a constant supply of it flowing. Because of this, the radiator needs additional storage tanks to move coolant to and from the engine. You should check inside them periodically to make sure the levels are good and the coolant is clean.

Dirt and debris can cause clogs and prevent the radiator from properly cooling the engine.

Transmission Cooling

This last part of the radiator’s components is often overlooked. The automatic transmission of a car produces a lot of heat. Therefore, it needs coolant to constantly remove heat built up. This is usually done by the same radiator unless it is a heavy duty vehicle that has a separate radiator just for it.

Transmission coolant is actually on its own separate line, even if you have a single radiator. Transmission fluid keeps it cool and lubricated, so it cannot be substituted for regular coolant.

Trouble with Overheating

Usually, your first warning sign that your car’s cooling system is failing is on the temperature gauge. If the needle dips into the red, you should get a “Check Engine” light. If there’s a leak somewhere, your first indicator will probably be a “Low Coolant” check light.

If you don’t see either of these warning signs, your car could get hot enough to start boiling the radiator fluid. This is where you see the ominous steam coming out the roof of the car. Unless you’re simultaneously running the AC at full blast, you will probably feel the heat in the cabin, too.

If your car constantly struggles with overheating or low coolant, you’ll need to get it checked for leaks. When the temperatures outside reach triple-digits, you’ll need to be careful, of course. If the weather is normal, then it could be the thermostat, a belt, or a water pump issue.

Calling a Professional

If you suspect your vehicle is overheating or see an indicator we’ve mentioned, check the pressure cap. Wait until the car is cooled down completely, then try to unscrew the cap. If you’re not getting any pressurized air escaping, then the gasket on the cap is no good. This means the radiator fluid isn’t cooling at maximum efficiency.

What does a radiator do when the coolant isn’t pressurized? Well, it burns through it much quicker. It’s about as efficient as running water through the engine to cool it.

You shouldn’t put any more miles on a car with an overheating problem. Get it repaired ASAP.

For more information on getting your car checked out and repaired, contact us for a free consultation. We’re the radiator experts. We can save you a lot of time and money by quickly finding the problem and preventing further damage to your vehicle.

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How to Spot the Signs Your Car Needs a New AC Accumulator

AC Accumulator

If you’ve noticed that your air conditioning unit has been on the fritz lately, we understand that it can sometimes be hard to properly diagnose the issue.

Is the fan broken, are you out of refrigerant, or is something else going on?

One part of the unit that many people neglect to understand as the source of an issue is the AC accumulator.

In this post, we’ll teach you four of the most obvious signs that there’s a problem within your accumulator air conditioning system.

We’ll also let you know where you can go online to shop for high-quality and affordable replacement parts and repair services so you can get things fixed before the problem becomes worse.

What is an Air Conditioning Accumulator?

Before we discuss the signs of a faulty AC accumulator, let’s make sure you know what the part does.

After all, you want to be certain that the problem is indeed with the car AC accumulator, and not with another aspect of the unit.

Essentially, the job of an air conditioning accumulator is to collect the coolant once it travels out of the evaporator in the AC unit as a whole. Once the refrigerant is inside the AC accumulator, it will then turn it into a gas.

Then, it will send it over to the compressor within the unit. Your accumulator also holds a special type of moisture, known as a desiccant. The desiccant is what quicken the overall conversion of the refrigerant into gas.

So, where can you find it within the unit itself?

Usually, the accumulator is right between the compressor and the evaporator — making it the “middle man” of your car’s AC unit. It will always be found on the side of your unit that handles the suction.

1. The AC Smells Awful

You’re ready to hit the road, you’ve created the perfect playlist, and your car’s passenger seat is filled with snacks for the ride.

The only problem?

You’ve noticed that your AC unit seriously stinks. In fact, it smells a whole lot like rotten eggs, or even just moldy bread.

In addition to this being a sign that there’s a problem with your AC accumulator, it’s also a potential health risks.

If, along with the smell, you’ve noticed an increase in coughing, watery eyes, and more when you get in the car and blast the AC?

You may be dealing with mold growth.

This means that your accumulator has stopped properly getting the moisture out of the AC unit and turning it into gas. Instead, that moisture turns into mildew and mold that has built up within your unit as a whole.

You may need to get in touch with a professional to make sure that you handle this issue properly and completely.

Your health may be at risk, as well as the overall functionality of your car’s AC.

2. You’ve Noticed Leaks

Of course, one of the most obvious signs that there’s a serious issue with your accumulator AC system is if you notice visible leaks, or even just pools of water on the flooring of your car.

If you suspect that this might be an issue, then you’ll need to take a look up underneath the car. You should also be sure to check within your engine bay for even more signs of coolant leakage.

If you know you have a leak on your hands, you’ll need to be sure to act quickly.

If you don’t, over time, the leak will empty out all of your coolant, and your air conditioning will stop working altogether.

3. You Hear Rattling Noises

Whenever you turn on the AC unit in your car, does it start to make loud and obnoxious rattling noises after only a few minutes of use?

If so, then it’s probably a sign that something isn’t quite right within your accumulator air conditioning system.

The likely culprit?

There’s too much corrosion on your accumulator, so much so that it’s actually caused the interior of the mechanism to stop working effectively.

In some cases, this noise could also indicate that a hose or even a fitting has gotten too lose. It could mean that the fitting are just worn out and in need of replacement.

4. Your AC just isn’t Working

Do you feel like that, no matter how high you crank up the air conditioning in your car, it’s still boiling hot?

If so, then it’s likely that a problem with your car AC accumulator could be at fault.

This is something that you need to take care of for many reasons. First and most obviously, you don’t want to be uncomfortable during long car rides on hot days.

But more importantly, a faulty accumulator means that your car will burn through gas much more quickly than usual. This is because your AC unit will need to use twice as much power to accomplish half as much.

This also wears down the overall AC unit much faster than is normal. This can lead to costly repairs or even replacements in the near future.

Need to Replace your AC Accumulator?

We hope that this post has helped you to recognize the four major signs of a faulty AC accumulator.

Remember that a rotten smell, a system that doesn’t work, rattling noises, or leaks are all indications that you need to repair or replace the accumulator system in your vehicle.

Looking for reliable replacement parts at a fair price?

We’ve got you covered.

With over 30 years of experience, we’re experts at helping you to find exactly what you need. We also offer free shipping.

Check out our online shop to start getting your car on the road to recovery today.

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“10 Tips on How To Stop A Car From Overheating” is locked 10 Tips on How To Stop A Car From Overheating

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.

However, if you’ve inspected your car and determined you need replacement parts for your radiator or air-conditioning system, check out our selection of automotive parts.

You can try all the tricks in the book, but sometimes some new equipment is all you need to keep your car cool.

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6 Signs Your Car Needs a New Radiator

new radiator

 

One of the most vital working parts of any motor vehicle is the radiator. Some may even say it’s the most important working part of your entire car.

While this may be debatable, it’s certainly responsible for the proper functioning of your car’s engine. Without it, your engine would overheat and your car would be useless.

With this in mind, proper maintenance of your car’s radiator is absolutely necessary to ensure your car runs at its most efficient.

In order to keep your car radiator in tip-top condition, checks and maintenance should be done at least twice a year.

But how do you know when it’s time for a new radiator? In this blog, we highlight the 6 signs to look out for.

Top Signs it’s Time for a New Radiator

So, how does a car radiator work and why is it so important to the proper functioning of your car?

Basically, a radiator is used to keep your car engine’s temperature under control.

Due to the heat generated by the engine’s pistons, its temperature can rise extremely quickly.

Your radiator passes coolant through the engine block to absorb the excessive heat and keep your engine at a cool, working temperature.

If your engine becomes too hot, it will overheat and can ultimately cause damage to your car. This is an expensive headache which can be easily avoided.

Look out for these signals that its time for a new radiator before expensive damage is done to your car.

1. Visibly Leaking Coolant

Coolant is a vital part of the radiator system and is a key component in keeping your engine at a functioning temperature.

However, if you notice visibly leaking coolant spilling out onto the ground beneath your car, there is a problem with your radiator.

You may notice coolant leaking out onto the floor when you are parked or while driving.

But to definitively identify the issue within your radiator, you must take your car to a qualified mechanic.

A pressurized, colored dye test will be conducted and run through your radiator’s cooling system.

If the colored dye leaks out, then your radiator is most likely cracked and you may need a new radiator.

2. An Overheating Vehicle

If your car is persistently overheating, even if you aren’t driving a very long distance, this means there is an underlying issue with your radiator.

The good news is that this type of issue can usually be nipped-in-the-bud early enough before expensive issues arise.

The first or second time your car overheats, it’s important to address the cause immediately. Take your car to a professional mechanic who will be able to pinpoint the issue.

If this issue is left unattended for some time, this can only cause further damage and you may need a completely new radiator.

3. Discolored Coolant or Radiator Sludge

Typically, most radiator coolants are yellow, green or red in color. As your radiator ages, the coolant can discolor and turn a rusty color, eventually turning into a thick sludge.

This thick sludge is highly detrimental to your radiator as it will not drain correctly and eventually clogs the entire system. Radiator sludge is caused by either a lack of radiator maintenance or the mixing of transmission fluid and coolant.

A professional mechanic should be able to identify the cause and replace the coolant.

If this sludge manages to accumulate within your radiator, you will eventually need a new radiator and your engine could also become extensively damaged.

4. Low Coolant Levels

Typically, you shouldn’t have to change or top-off your radiator coolant levels at all if your car is relatively new. Most models of cars require a coolant change after the first 60,000 miles, then at 30,000-mile intervals after that.

If your coolant levels are unusually low and your coolant light is on more often than it should be, it’s high-time for a radiator check-up.

Try not to avoid this issue and have a professional assess the cause before it’s too late and you need a new radiator.

5. Radiator Rust Accumulation

Most components of a radiator are made from metal and are therefore susceptible to rust over time.

Modern radiators may feature a plastic top, however, the rest of the unit is comprised of metal. Over time, these internal metal parts can rust due to the constant exposure to moisture.

When doing your car maintenance, make sure to check the color of your coolant for signs of rust. If it’s a brownish color, you may have a rust accumulation throughout your cooling system.

You will need to take your car to a mechanic to have your radiator flushed to remove the rust build-up.

Make sure to use high-quality coolant and distilled water when refilling your radiator to avoid failure of your radiator and car engine.

6. A Faulty Thermostat

If your car is consistently overheating, another cause could be a faulty thermostat within your radiator system.

In fact, a faulty thermostat is known as one of the most common causes of radiator overheating.

The radiator thermostat acts as a valve which controls the level and flow of the coolant throughout the radiator. If this thermostat fails, your radiator coolant levels can go haywire.

Take your car to a mechanic if you suspect a faulty thermostat and ensure this component is replaced before you need a new radiator altogether!

Common Causes of Radiator Replacement

Just some of these scenarios are likely to cause issues with your radiator, so keep these in mind when assessing the cause of your radiator faults:

1. A Recent Car Accident

Have you recently been involved in a front-end or head-on collision? If so, your radiator is highly susceptible to damage or replacement.

Even side-on accidents are a common cause for concern when it comes to radiator damage. Try not to have your current radiator repaired and rather opt for a full replacement.

Radiator repair is a lengthy, expensive task and often doesn’t include a new warranty. Purchasing a new radiator will work out cheaper and you will have a warranty to fall back on.

2. Unchecked Overheating

Leaving your car to repeatedly overheat spells death for your radiator. If you don’t assess and repair the cause of your radiator overheating, it will eventually need to be completely replaced.

Very often it involves a simple repair such as cooling replacement or sealing a crack. But if this is avoided for too long, your radiator will completely pack in and need to be replaced.

3. A Defective Pressure Cap

The pressure cap of your radiator is extremely important in signaling when your radiator is under too much pressure.

If the pressure cap is not functioning at 100%, there will be no way for you to know your radiator needs a break. This can cause your radiator to completely burn out, destroying the radiator unit and damaging your car engine.

4. Worn Down Soldering

The joints of your radiator are made by a process of soldering. When these soldered joints become worn down and weakened, this can lead to leaks and cracks forming in your radiator.

Additionally, an accumulation of rust can also lead to worn soldering which can create further leakage throughout your radiator.

Replace Your Radiator With Us

If you’re looking for a world-class online retailer of radiators and automotive cooling distribution, we are your answer.

With close to 30 years of industry experience, we offer the expertise, high-quality import/export products and the services you need.

View our impressive range here.