This summer season has started off hot, with record-breaking temperatures recorded across the Southwest. Los Angeles is no exception to this scorching heat wave. Angelenos were encouraged to stay indoors to avoid heat-related illnesses, as thermometers rose into the hundreds. Such intense heat is not only a human health hazard-it can have dangerous consequences for your car as well. Especially in Los Angeles, where commuters often travel long distances in stop-and-go traffic, hot weather can easily cause your vehicle’s engine to overheat. Luckily, there are a few easy things drivers can do to prevent their vehicles from overheating.
1. Keep an eye on your engine temperature gauge. A steadily increasing temperature gauge is usually the first sign that your car may be overheating. Know what a normal engine temperature is for your car, and be mindful if the dial begins to climb past that number.
2. Turn off your air conditioning. If your engine starts to overheat, your first step should be to turn off your A/C. While this may seem counter-intuitive and less than ideal, running the air conditioning causes your engine to do extra work, making additional heat.
3. Turn on the heater. As awful as it may seem in hundred-degree heat, you can also turn on your car’s heater. This trick will transfer heat away from the engine, and into the car, making for a toasty ride for you, but it could be the difference in saving your engine.
4. Rev the engine. If you’re stopped in traffic, try shifting into neutral or park, and revving the engine. This speeds up the fan and water pump, allowing the radiator to better do its job.
5. Don’t ride the brakes. Try not to ride your brakes in traffic, too, as constant speeding up and braking puts extra strain on your engine.
If you’ve done everything above, and your engine is still heating up, it’s time to pull off the highway and stop driving. Make sure to do so safely, to avoid an automobile accident. A serious injury on the roadway in addition to a ruined engine will only make your day a lot worse. Once you’re safely off the road, open your hood to inspect your coolant tank. Make sure to carry extra coolant with you, in case your radiator is running low or there is a leak in the cooling system. If you do have a leak or if your engine still isn’t cooling down after your car is stopped for a while, don’t hesitate to call a tow truck. It’s much cheaper to order a tow, than to replace your engine if it overheats.
Make sure to stay cool and prevent yourself and your engine from overheating in this hot summer heat!