Summer is finally upon us and temperatures will be well over 100 degrees. It is important to ask yourself now, is my car cooling properly? Summer car care can be an extensive topic with many related subjects, depending on the design of your car’s cooling system. It is important to find someone who specializes in working on your type of car. More importantly, they must be trustworthy and dependable.
The easiest way for you to determine if your car is cooling properly is to get in the habit of looking at your temperature gauge. This simple act can save you a lot of time, aggravation and money. The best time to start watching your temperature gauge is when the car is cold, first thing in the morning. As you head to your destination and stop at a traffic light or stop sign, take a quick glance at the temperature gauge to see if it is rising close to the red. It is not uncommon for thermostats in some cars to fail overnight and when this happens, the car will overheat almost instantly.
Let’s say you find your temperature gauge is fluctuating. This could be due to a poor connection or faulty ground wire. You can be alerted to this problem ahead of time if you have a cluster of gauges because a bad ground wire will affect these gauges too. Be sure to see your mechanic immediately if you suspect you have a hot running problem.
When your temperature gauge is riding higher than usual, ask your mechanic to check for the following: following: Bad radiator cap , Clogged radiator, Plugged radiator crossover hose, Bad water pump due to rusted out impeller, Bad fan clutch, *Bad thermostat, The high fan speed on the auxiliary fan is inoperable Bad head gasket , Bad temperature gauge or sending unit, Bad air conditioning temperature sending unit for the auxiliary fan. The best defense in fighting the summer car battle is a good offense. Have your car serviced regularly by a qualified mechanic. Make sure they flush out your radiator system and add fresh coolant and water mixture before each summer begins. Ask them to look at the cooling hoses and replace any that look bad. On vehicles that boil over, it is very important that the engine block be tested. Ask your mechanic to conduct a SNIFF test with an infrared scanner across the coolant level in the radiator or expansion tank to sniff out any hydrocarbons present which would indicate a bad head gasket. Then, have them conduct a block test with chemicals to look for any leaks.
Replacing a bad hose or even a radiator is a lot cheaper than replacing a cylinder head or engine block. Remember to ask your mechanic to test your temperature gauge each time you have a major service. A functioning
temperature gauge is your last line of defense between a car that runs cool versus you losing your cool if your
car is stuck on the side of the road on a hot summer day, waiting for a tow truck.
Note: Wade Lennan has over 28 years experience servicing BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari and Rolls Royce, and is the owner of Monaco Motors in Canoga Park, California.