One of the best experiences of my life was to own an audi car covers. It was an old Chevrolet Astro minivan. Oh yeah, I was the coolest chick on the block… At one time, the speedometer was broken, the side door actually had a hole in it, and the radiator decided to start spewing green, smelly stuff. Total nightmare. But I learned a lot about how to take care of a car – especially if it begins to overheat.
I firmly believe that all of life is an adventure. Driving around in a problem car in the Texas heat is no exception. I learned to pay attention to my millage, how to change my own oil, jump the battery, and watch my gages like a hawk. I can even use a hammer to help start the car when the starter won’t work. Seriously.
The best way to make sure to avoid the overheating problem is to make sure you take your car in for regular maintenance issues like changing the oil, tune ups, not letting your gas gage get to “empty”, and replace your worn down tires.
Know what your car looks like under the hood. Make sure all of your fluids are at your manual’s suggested levels for optimum performance. If you should need to add some coolant you’ll know how without having to thumb through the user’s manual on the side of the road.
Your temperature gage should remain toward the middle or below that. Make it a habit to check it every time you stop at a light or just glance at it when you check your speed. If it starts to move toward the red, the first thing you should do is get off the road as quickly as you can (preferably a gas station) and open the hood to let your engine cool off a bit and you can check your fluids. DO NOT TOUCH THE RADIATOR CAP (even if bright green fluid is pouring out of it). It is VERY hot. In case you forget, just read the knob. It will remind you.
Replace any low fluids if you can. If you start it again and the temperature seems normal, drive on but keep a very sharp eye on your temperature. You may need to get it to a mechanic as soon as possible. If you start it again and the temperature is still climbing, it might be time to call in some back up. Friend. Tow truck. Whatever. Just don’t drive it or you could permanently damage your engine.
If you are stuck in traffic and notice your car overheating, the first thing you should do is turn off the air conditioner and see if that helps. If not, try turning on the heater. I know it seems like a crazy suggestion – especially if you are stuck on I-10 in the middle of August – but it works. Not always, but most of the time. Turning on the heater helps divert some of the heat away from the engine. Just make sure to roll down your windows and point the vents away from you. If you are in stop and go traffic, put the transmission in neutral while stopped. Pull over as soon as you can and follow the instructions above.
There are many possible reasons your car may begin to overheat. The best thing you can do is be prepared, pay attention, and know what to do. It’s all an adventure!