It’s summer and boy have we had some punishing heat this year even if it was brief ‘so far’, but soaring temperatures aren’t just hard work for us it could mean trouble for your vehicle. If you are heading abroad then you should check out your engine cooling system before the trip to warmer climates
Our engines have a cooling system which shouldn’t need too much maintenance, but it’s important to make sure you have enough coolant when temperatures start to climb to prevent wear, corrosion and overheating. Check your owner’s manual before topping it up because the manufacturer may recommend a specific coolant-water ratio. Whilst looking at the manual, see how often the engine coolant should be changed. It can vary depending on the vehicle’s make and model, as well as the type of coolant you use; it can range from every two to six years, or 24,000 to 100,000 miles.
Don’t be tempted to top up if it’s time to replace because over time, engine coolants lose their protective additives. Don’t waste your time or coolant, if the system needs to be flushed and the coolant replaced. Ask your mechanic to check your cooling system if you don’t know how to do it yourself. If your engine temperature should start to rise dangerously towards the red whilst out driving, you’ll need to turn the heater on to full and heat. YES HEAT!
The last option you have is to remove heat from the engine through the heater system and hopefully out of the open windows. If you need to stop, open the bonnet preferably in the shade and let the engine cool down before touching anything.
It’s important to check all engine fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering and brake fluid to ensure your engine is running efficiently. Check over all the engines rubber hoses as well because excess heat could cause rubber to soften and fail or age causes them to harden and fail.
Electric cars should remember that extreme hot or cold weather can drastically affect battery efficiency. In extreme heat, the mileage per charge could be reduced by as much as 40%, so it’s important to gauge your travel between recharging accordingly.
Tyres can be affected not only by the rubber becoming softer in heat but also the air they contain expands in extreme heat. This air expansion can push against any weaknesses in a now softer tyre and create a blowout. Check your tyres regularly. To find your car’s recommended tyre pressures check the owner’s manual, or look for a sticker usually found on the driver’s doorpost. Don’t forget if you’re towing, loading up for a run to the tip or off on a expedition the extra weight will require a change in tyre pressure.
Remember, you need to stay cool to deal with the situation if it arises …