Summer is coming, which means road trip season is on the horizon. After all, there’s no better way than spending summer in glorious Australia. Day trips to the beach will become a weekly occurrence for many. However, with travelling long distances comes the unfortunate side effect of an overheating engine. Engines can overheat for a multitude of reasons, so it may not always be the rising temperatures.
No matter the culprit, ignoring an overheating car isn’t something you want to delay investigating. This article will explore what causes cars to overheat and what we can do to prevent it. So you can still enjoy your road trips this summer season and prevent severe or permanent damage to your car.
What Causes a Car to Overheat?
Inside every car, there is a cooling system, which is designed to maintain an ideal temperature of the engine. Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is one of the vital fluids essential for your engine’s health. As the name suggests, the purpose is to prevent a car’s engine from overheating.
However, when the cooling system starts to malfunction, such as a leak, cause a blockage, or have a pump problem, your coolant won’t circulate the engine optimally. If your car’s cooling system isn’t functioning correctly, your engine is at risk for damage and a potentially costly repair.
2. Failure in the cooling system
A common sign you could have an overheating issue is your car’s air conditioning is no longer working. A dilemma that isn’t ideal considering we live in hot and humid Australia. If this is something you’ve noticed, we recommend you don’t delay seeking the advice from an auto professional as soon as possible. Whilst your car won’t explode in a ball of flames, it can cause damage and a hefty repair bill if you continue to drive your car with these issues.
3. Faulty thermostat
As the sole responsibility of the thermostat is to regulate the amount of coolant that flows through the engine, a broken or faulty thermostat is a recipe for an overheating engine. Once the engine’s coolant reaches a certain temperature, the value of the thermostat will open flowing cooled coolant from the radiator to enter. Thus, giving the coolant from the engine a chance to cool down.
An issue with the thermostat will mean the temperature reading will be less accurate, allowing the temperature to rise, and your car overheats. Signs you should look out for include coolant leaks under your car and a fluctuation of irregular temperature.
How to Prevent Your Car From Overheating
1. Regularly check your coolant levels
Early detection is key to prevent overheating and serious damage to your engine or car. To make regular checking less of a nuisance, we suggest you turn it into a habit! For example, by regularly checking your coolant levels, you’ll be able to tell if the coolant and water levels are optimal. To do this, check inside the coolant reservoir or the radiator. Regular surveillance is the first line of defence in preventing your car from overheating. It also happens to be easy once you know where and what to look for. Repetition will form a habit, so there’s no better time than starting today.
2. Keep a close eye on your thermostat
While the thermostat may be a small and simple component, it is a crucial component that prevents your car from overheating. With its purpose to regulate coolant flow, checking whether your thermostat is working is something worth checking regularly. If you don’t, you could be missing a fault, such as your thermostat failing to open, preventing coolant from circulating through the cooling system. The outcome is your engine overheats, and you’re forced to turn off your car to prevent further damage.
To locate your thermostat, simply lift the hood of your car and follow the upper radiator hose that leads to the engine. At the end of this hose, you’ll find your thermostat. If you need additional help, you can review your service manual, which is usually kept in the glovebox of most cars.
3. Monitor your car’s temperature
We know it’s easy to forget to check your car’s temperature, especially during the excitement of a road trip. However, regularly monitoring your car’s temperature will provide you with early warning signs that something might not be right with your car engine’s coolant.
Besides a warning light that will activate to let you know your car is overheating, you can also locate a temperature gauge on your dashboard. The letter C should be on one end of the scale, indicating cold, and H on the other end indicating hot. You’ll know when your car is overheating when the gauge points towards the H end. One of the easiest solutions to preventing engine damage is to keep an eye on this gauge and prevent it from getting beyond the recommended temperature.
4. Turn off your AC and turn on the heat
Now we know this sounds counterintuitive, but turning off your AC when your car is overheating assists in reducing the engine load it’s experiencing due to the continuous use of the AC. In doing so, you buy yourself more time at the same operating temperature before the engine gets too overheated.
If you think you’re past that stage, turn on your heater after you’ve opened your car windows. We know this also doesn’t make sense, but the windows and heat will draw the engine’s heat inside the car’s cabin and work to cool down the engine quickly. Whilst it’s guaranteed to be uncomfortable in an Australian summer, a few minutes may be bearable if it prevents your engine from overheating and keeps you moving on your road trip.
What to do if You Notice Your Car is Overheating
Routine inspections can also help you fix any potential radiator or engine issues before they worsen. It’s a common issue for drivers travelling long distances to come across an overheating engine. If you notice any of the signs listed whilst driving, the safest option is to pull over safely and open the hood to let the heat escape.
If you notice any engine damage listed, it’s best to make an appointment with a trusted mechanic specialist for a service. If you take the time to inspect your car, your car will take care of you! However, if you neglect it, you could find yourself facing an abrupt sending to your summer road trip.
Why Novus Autoglass?
Finding a reliable and trustworthy mechanic can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. As the original glass repair professionals, Novus is trusted in providing our clients with the utmost care. Contact us at your earliest convenience on 13 22 34, or book a service online. Don’t let an overdue service delay your road trip this summer, and book in for a consultation with one of our professionals today!