Anyone living in Florida knows that it gets hot and humid. The heat and sun can damage anything given enough time, especially cars. Car and truck engines, especially diesel engines, can overheat in the extreme heat of Florida. Car owners should take care of their vehicles to make sure they don’t overheat, which can damage the engines. The causes of an overheating engine can vary from external temperatures to a lack of coolant. Whatever the cause, use these tips on how to keep your car from overheating so that you don’t have to replace the engine.
Watch the Thermostat
Every car and truck on the road has a thermostat on the instrument panel to tell you how hot the engine is. There’s a normal operating temperature that’s safe for all vehicles. Even on extremely hot days, the engine should stay cool enough to prevent an overheat. When the thermostat gets into the red range, however, you need to turn off the engine until it cools.
Turn on the Heat
If your engine starts to overheat and you have pulled over, turn on the heat. This might seem counterproductive, but the heater will pull the hot air away from the engine and put it into the cabin. Watch the needle on the thermostat slowly go down, and leave the heat on as you drive home. Of course, be care about your own health, and stop driving if you are going to suffer from heat exhaustion.
Add Coolant to the Radiator
The only job of the radiator is to cool the engine. If it’s not full of coolant, then it can’t do the job. Check the radiator and the reservoir to make sure there’s coolant in both. This is very important in the hotter summer months. If you’re out of coolant, you can add water to the radiator in an emergency, but you should then add coolant as soon as possible.
Flush the Radiator
An overlooked tip on how to keep your car from overheating is flushing the radiator. Even if you keep the coolant at a good level, it can get dirty over time. Just like motor oil, the coolant needs replacing from time to time. A general rule is to have a mechanic flush the coolant every 40,000 miles. Check the owner’s manual for your vehicle to know for sure.
Check the Battery
That’s right—check the battery and make sure it’s fully charged and working. When the battery is failing, it’s not giving the engine and systems the power they need. The car has to work harder, creating more heat, which can lead to an overheat. If the battery is more than three years old, replace it.
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