Avoid Fuming Beside An Overheated Engine

Engines never seem to overheat on a pleasant, 70-degree day.

No, this phenomenon is essentially reserved for broiling summer afternoons.

Paying attention to your vehicle’s vital systems--especially the radiator--helps avoid breakdowns during the hottest days of the year.

“Most vehicles overheat due to poor maintenance,” said Jared Avent, training manager at Universal Technical Institute’s Sacramento campus.

Fans and coolant regulate the engine’s internal temperature. That’s why they are such vital components, he said. Overheating generally results from insufficient coolant, however a broken fan can also disable an engine quickly.

Coolant in the radiator must be replenished or replaced routinely to keep the engine operating smoothly.

Below, Avent suggests services and precautions worth considering this time of year.

  • Have your vehicle inspected by a certified technician especially before a long road trip. An overheating engine is usually the result of poor maintenance or a system failure.
  • Maintain fluid levels. Engine coolant is like oil, it needs to be replenished and replaced periodically.
  • Do NOT add tap water to the radiator. Tap water can introduce foreign materials that corrodes hoses and causes hot spots within the engine.
  • Know the causes. An engine can overheat due to a contaminated coolant, bubbles in the cooling system, a fan malfunction, broken water pump, coolant leaks, issues with the radiator cap or a leak in the head gasket.
  • Keep an eye on the temperature gauge. An occasional glance keeps you informed of the engine’s condition.