This being the hot season, it is inevitable that your car’s engine will run at higher temperatures than it normally does. If one is not careful this could lead to overheating and ultimately cause expensive damage to your car. Very hot temperatures can cause degradation in the engine oil, ruin gasket seals and even cause melting of the engine block which would mean getting a new engine for your car.
Here are a few tips that can enable you keep your engine cool this season.
A radiator serves to cool the engine of a vehicle. It works by cooling the coolant which absorbs the heat in the engine block as it runs. As such it is important to ensure that it runs at optimal levels. One needs to check the coolant levels once in a while and also have it flushed after every two years or so.
In case you notice that the coolant looks milky or rusty have the system flushed and inspected by a mechanic. Ensure to only use coolant but in the event that it is not available use water but not salty water as it will lead to rusting.
This being njaanuary I am sure there is a good number of drivers who are yet to service their cars. An integral part of a car’s service is oil change. Oil helps lubricate the moving parts of an engine and also prevents overheating. So if you car has surpassed its service date there is a good chance that oil level is low which means that your car is likely to overheat.
To check the oil level just pull out the dip stick and if the level is below the line labelled ‘F’ you need to top up immediately to prevent engine damage. If the colour of the oil is yellowish brown then you are okay but if it is dark you need to change it asap. In the event that the colour of the oil is milky you need to call a mechanic because chances are that the oil is mixing with the coolant which can lead to engine damage. Oil should be changed after every 5,000, 7,000 or 10,000 kilometers depending on the type of oil you use.
These are the pipes the that carry the coolant from the engine to the radiator for cooling and back. This means that the fluid passes through the pipes at very high pressure and temperature. A leak in one of the hoses could drain all the coolant from the engine and cause the engine to overheat.
A worn hose can give you problems as it is easy for the high pressure generated as the coolant moves around the engine to damage it. I had a bad experience with this as I was driving from Thika towards Mombasa road and I had to stop every few kilometers to top up the coolant which was leaking as I raced towards the garage. Ensure to check the hoses visually for leaks, cracks and peeling. While the engine’s still warm, squeeze along the hose’s length — it should feel firm, but not hard. If the hose is spongy or soft in even one section, replace it before it fails and causes bigger problems.
This is one of those things that most drivers forget to check while driving often at a great cost. In the event that your cooling system has a problem, the only way you can tell is via the temperature gauge. The gauge should normally settle at the mid point with slight variations either upwards or downwards depending on the temperature outside. High speeds, idling in traffic, running the AC or pulling a heavy load can cause the car to heat faster.
If you find that the temperature gauge is approaching the red zone and you are unable to stop. Turn the AC to hot and open it at full blast, this though uncomfortable for you will help the heat from the engine to dissipate. Roll down your windows and drive till you are able to stop and check on the cooling system.