Keeping your engine cool in the summer is important in order to avoid common engine problems associated with overheating. When your engine is exposed to excessive heat due to warm external temperatures, it causes more heat to be produced than normal, as your engine strains to maintain optimal driving temperature. Here’s a bit more information on ways to keep your engine cool in the summer.
What are normal operating conditions?
The simplest way to determine if your engine’s temperature is at the appropriate level is to keep an eye on your car’s temperature gauge, located in your dashboard. The temperature gauge can be slightly off-centered, as it adjusts to the external temperature. It’s normal for your engine to reach between 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit when running optimally. Under certain conditions, however, temperatures can reach much higher, causing your engine to overheat. During the summer, your engine becomes even more susceptible to overheating as our engine uses more coolant to maintain optimal operating temperature while we constantly run our air conditioning.
Keep it covered when parked
During the summer months especially, it’s important to try to keep your car covered while parked. If you have space in a garage, then this is the best-case scenario option. If not, then you might consider parking under a tree, a car port, or in a parking garage. The sun’s rays are more intense during summer months, and your car’s direct exposure to the sun's harsh rays can cause various parts of your engine to expand beyond normal expectations, or rubber seals can dry out and become broken or compromised. Lessening the sun’s impact while your car sits is a good option to prevent premature wear of internal engine parts.
Make sure to keep coolant full
Your engine circulates coolant through the radiator system in order to bring down the engine’s temperature that can reach excessive levels during summer heat. It’s a good idea to keep an extra bottle of coolant and/or water in your car at all times in case coolant becomes lower than anticipated while on the road. It’s no fun getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic during summer months with low coolant!
Limit air-conditioning use
When you use the air-conditioning in your car, especially during summer months when your engine is already under excessive stress from the heat, it causes your engine to strain, as it must provide power to the motors and compressors that cool the inside of the car. That’s why when your car begins to overheat it is recommended to blast the heater for a few minutes. During summer months, it helps to park your car in a covered area to reduce the cabin temperature—then you might not need to crank the air conditioner right when you get in the car.
Watch out for leaks and overheating
Coolant leaks are common during summer months; as various engine parts expand and contract with heating and cooling, radiators can crack, seals can break, and coolant can escape the cooling system. During summer months especially, it’s most important to keep an eye out for leaking coolant, which can certainly cause your engine to overheat. Again, it helps to keep extra coolant in your car at all times just in case. However, in the instance of a coolant leak, you’ll need to have the problem addressed right away.
Avoid stop-and-go traffic in the summer
Stop-and-go traffic can add stress to your engine—especially if your air conditioner is running the entire time. The constant acceleration and deceleration makes your engine have to work harder to maintain power, causing excessive wear on the various engine parts and adding to the overall heat that your engine creates. Take different routes during the summer—maybe you’ll wind up even enjoying yourself on a slightly longer, less stop-and-go route!
How we can help
The experts here at Import Motorworx, serving clients in the West Los Angeles areas of Lawndale, Culver City, and South Bay, CA, take a proactive role in preventing our clients’ engines from overheating or undergoing excessive wear during the summer months. In the weeks leading up to increased, triple-digit temperatures, we tend to become booked with preventive maintenance procedures for the European imports we service. If you would like to get a head start this season and prevent your car from damage due to excessive heat, please get in touch with us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.