When a car overheats, it can ruin a trip. In many cases, the problem that caused the overheating may have been prevented with proper maintenance. Every time a car overheats, it causes damage to the motor. These tips can help you prevent that.
Check the antifreeze
The purpose of antifreeze is to keep the car from freezing up during cold weather and to keep it cool during hot weather. The vehicle manual will tell the owner the kind of antifreeze and how much antifreeze to use. Most cars take one and a half to two gallons of antifreeze.
The reason a car is heating up may be because it doesn't have enough antifreeze in it or the antifreeze may not be circulating properly through the engine. Check under the car from time to time to see if there are any leaks. Even if there are no leaks, time, use and evaporation can lessen the amount of antifreeze in your car. Frequently check the level, and keep it where it needs to be.
Check the engine fan
The radiator fan is responsible for cooling the engine. If the car has an electric cooling fan motor, have it checked to make sure that the sensors are working properly and that the fuses and the fan switch are good. If the car does not have an electric cooling fan motor, it will have a fan blade driven by a belt and a fan clutch. Make sure that the belt is adjusted properly and that the fan clutch is working.
Check the radiator cap
Replace the radiator cap if it is old or missing the seal gasket. Make sure the seals are not cracked anywhere. Take the cap to have it tested to make sure it is maintaining the proper pressure.
Check the radiator and the radiator hose
Check the radiator to make sure that the core isn't blocked and the radiator grille isn't dirty. Oftentimes, water calcification and rust can reduce the flow of the coolant through the radiator when the car is driven at high speeds, causing it to overheat. If this is the problem, the radiator will need to be removed and thoroughly cleaned, or possibly replaced. Make sure the radiator hose is not bent or collapsing.
Check the thermostat
The thermostat decides when the coolant is able to circulate and when it isn't. It allows the engine to heat to a certain temperature, but allows it to go no further than that. The thermostat can fail to open at the right temperature, or it can stick shut or stick open. This either causes the engine not to heat up enough or it causes it to overheat. Replace the thermostat if it is not working properly, or if it is old.
Check the water pump and belts
Make sure that the belt to the water pump is in good condition and that it is adjusted properly. If the proper coolant is not used, it will cause the seals on the water pump to wear out faster. Make sure the water pump is not leaking.