Allowing your engine to overheat can cause extensive damage that could result in costly repairs. Engines are more prone to overheating when it is hot outside and may get especially warm while idling in traffic. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent this from happening in the first place.
Turn off the A/C
While idling in traffic, turn off your car’s air conditioner and roll down the windows instead. Air conditioning takes a heavy toll on an engine, especially whenever you are idling. If it does appear your car is overheating, turning on your heater could help disperse some of this heat. This is because the heat is transferred from the engine compartment to the inside of the vehicle, therefore keeping your engine cooler.
Put it in Park
If you are idling in traffic, the best thing you can do to keep your engine from overheating is to put your vehicle in park. Next, rev your engine slightly to speed up the fan and water pump. This is normally enough to cool your engine, but if this doesn’t work, pull over to the side of the road and raise your hood until your engine has had a chance to return to normal temperature.
Avoid Excessive Braking
Try not to brake heavily when you are in start and stop traffic. Doing so places an undue burden on your engine, which can result in overheating. Creep forward very slowly and coast as much as possible to stop. You may want to leave an extra-large space between your vehicle and the one in front of you to make sure you are able to move slowly and steadily without excessive braking.
Cool Before Adding Water
If you must add water, do so only when your car is completely cool. Adding water while the engine is even slightly warm could result in cracked head gaskets that are costly to repair.
Never ignore the warning signs that your vehicle is about to overheat. By practising good driving habits, you can prevent your engine from getting too hot so your car will continue to operate smoothly.
Picture: Alterfalter – Fotolia