What You Auto Know: Stayin’ Cool
As we move way too quickly through the summer, a lot of you are headed out on the road, hopefully headed for a place where the sunshine can dry up some of the rain that’s seeped into your bones. Don’t forget to add a quick inspection of your vehicle to your pre-roadtrip checklist- oil, coolant, tires, belts and hoses should all get a quick look before you take off, either handle it at home, or take it to your shop. You’re rolling down the highway and life is good… until you notice the temperature gauge is climbing further to the right than it usually does. Now what? First, don’t panic. If you are driving up a long hill, it is normal for your vehicle to get a little warmer than usual, especially if it is hot outside. If the gauge continues to climb, turn off the A/C and slow down a bit. This will take some of the load off of the vehicles cooling system, and help return the temperature to normal. If the temperature approaches the red zone, pull off the road in a safe area, turn on the heater, and let the engine idle. If the temperature does not come down within a minute or two, shut off the engine, and go have a look under the hood. Check the coolant level in the reservoir tank. DO NOT open the radiator on a hot engine- you can be severely scalded. If the coolant level in the reservoir looks OK, have a look at the belts- are any missing or shredded? If the belts look good, you have a choice to make- you need to have the cooling system inspected. If you are close to a town that has a repair facility, let the engine cool down, and drive carefully into town- keeping an eye on the temperature gauge. If you are not near a town or it is the middle of the night, now is a good time to pull out the AAA card and call for a tow truck. Yes, you may have to wait a little while for the tow company, but a little patience now may be the difference between a small repair bill for a new thermostat, and a large repair bill for a new engine. Keep up on your maintenance, have your vehicle inspected at least twice a year, and as always, give us a call if you have any automotive questions.