There is no worse feeling than having your vehicle stall out while driving on a busy highway on a scorching hot day. On any day when the thermometer climbs out of the eighties you’re likely to see a number of cars and light trucks parked on the shoulders of highway and Interstates, steam rising from their engine compartments and frustrated passengers stranded in the heat. Hopefully, damage will be confined to coolant stains on the pavement and sweat stains on their clothing.
Heavy truck operators battle heat just as much as other motorists do. They know that keeping a close eye on engine coolant is critical to good operations. They also know something that many non-professional drivers don’t seem to: by the time your engine temperature gauge climbs into the red, it’s already too late: that engine is way too hot.
Research shows that en estimated 40 percent of engine downtime is caused by overheating. Professional mechanics will tell you that engine heating is nearly 100 percent preventable.
Heavy truck operators know that engine damage caused by heat can be expensive. The same is true for cars and light trucks. Many drivers who check their engine coolant levels leave it at that and don’t look for the hidden dangers that can cause engine overheating.
Here are four ways to minimize the chance that your engine will overheat.
1. Check your radiator’s innards. At least once a year, have your mechanic drain all the coolant from your radiator and look inside it for rust deposits and other gunk that can impair its ability to keep things cool. Your radiator should be drained and flushed every year.
2. Look closely at your radiator cap. Most people ignore this but there can be telltale signs that your radiator cap is failing. such as swelling or cracks. Rather than keeping the same radiator cap for as long as you own your vehicle, professional mechanics suggest you replace it every year when you have a radiator flush-and-fill.
3. Testing, testing. At least once a year, especially before hot weather sets it, have your mechanic perform a cooling system pressure check. It’s a dependable way to be certain your engine will stay operational.
4. Check your radiator’s exterior and the air conditioner cooling coils. If you see any debris or other buildup, hose it off. Also be on the lookout for any damage to the radiator fins.
These simple procedures will help keep your vehicle cool and smooth-running as you motor through hot weather. At Select 1 Group, we’re really picky about engine maintenance. You should be, too.