HOW TO KEEP YOUR ENGINE FROM OVERHEATING

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Online

A young driver, let’s call her Laura, is driving to a neighboring state to visit a friend. It’s a hot summer day, and she has her air-conditioning on. Halfway to her destination, she stops at a drive-through for a coffee. As she is about to pull away, the window attendant remarks that Laura’s car appears to be leaking. Laura pulls over but doesn’t see any dripping. She continues driving. Ten minutes later, she notices steam coming out from under the hood. In a panic, she speeds up in order to reach her destination quickly. When she arrives, she immediately gets out of the car and opens the hood to check her engine.

Luckily, Laura’s engine was okay; she simply had a leak in her cooling system. Unfortunately her parents were livid, as her actions put her at risk and could have damaged her engine beyond repair. Let’s take a look at some of the things that Laura did wrong.

First, engine overheating is often caused by a leak in the cooling system. This system circulates antifreeze (also a coolant) around the engine system in order to draw heat away from the engine as it converts fuel into thermal energy, which is used to power the car. When Laura pulled over to check her suspected leak, she should have checked the level of coolant in the antifreeze reserve tank. If the level was lower than normal, she could have added water to the system. While water isn’t a permanent replacement for antifreeze, this would have at least allowed Laura to get safely to the nearest service station.

Checking antifreeze levels regularly can help to prevent engine overheating in the first place. However, there are a number of other causes of overheating, including a malfunctioning fan, a blockage in the cooling system, and excess strain on the engine.

Second, Laura should have been paying more attention to the temperature gauge on her dashboard. When this gauge reached the red portion of the spectrum, she would have known to start taking preventive measures to cool her car. These include:

1. Turning off the air conditioning, as this strains the engine.
2. Turning on the heating system. This may seem counterintuitive. However, the heating system uses excess heat from the engine to warm air flowing into the car. Turning on the heater actually draws heat away from the engine and into the passenger compartment.
3. Shifting into neutral at stoplights and then depressing the accelerator slightly. This increases airflow across the radiator and speeds up the flow of coolant around the engine.
4. Trying to move as steadily as possible in stop and go traffic. Speeding up and stopping puts more strain on the engine.

If these steps had no effect, Laura should have pulled over and waited for her engine to cool before continuing to drive. She could also have placed a damp (not wet) piece of cloth on the engine to speed cooling.

Third, Laura should have stopped as soon as she noticed steam coming out from under her engine. This steam is actually the coolant beginning to boil off. Once the coolant is gone, the engine’s temperature will continue to increase unchecked. This can result in serious and irreparable engine damage. She should have pulled over and called a tow truck to take her to the nearest service station.

Fourth, Laura should not have opened the hood while steam was still coming out. At this point, the engine is extremely hot and pressure is building in the radiator. Opening the radiator cap could result in severe burns. She should have waited until the engine had cooled completely to open the hood.

Had she followed these steps, Laura wouldn’t have put herself and her car in serious danger; she also wouldn’t have been banned from borrowing the family car.

To learn more about this topic, or a broad range of subjects from “How To Change A Tire” to “How To Jumpstart Your Battery”, visit DefensiveDriving.com’s Safe Driver Resources website!
|

Customer Reviews

Defensivedriving.com has a ShopperApproved rating of 4.7 based on 114007 ratings and reviews.

Cynthia Bustos Tx, united states
Love it
Geni None, united states
Great
VICENTE VARGAS JR None, united states
Quick and easy
Javier Palmerin None, united states
Good help
Robert Bullock None, united states
Straight forward, easy, and fast!
Felix Carrion None, united states
User friendly
Tereasia Maynor None, united states
easy
Sydnee Jaynes TX, united states
Easy to understand
haley hoffman
quick
Lucio Garza None, united states
I have taken this course before and it has been great!
rose munoz
easy
Gabrielle Rodman united states
Great
Camden Searcy None, united states
Easy
Angela TX, United States
I take this class yearly for the discount on our insurance. This class is thorough and easy to follow.
Matthew Wilcox None, united states
Very quick and easy.
Andrew Forrest united states
Great
Ivonne Ricoy None, united states
Excellent service.
Amanda Fields None, united states
easy and efficient
Colleen Walwyn None, united states
Quick
dylan swiger None, united states
easy to navigate
blake grigson None, united states
love it
Jasmine Hanen None, united states
super fast a easy
Dorcas N, okese Texas, united states
it was very informative and straight forward.
Ivory Rhone Texas, united states
The course was very informative and easy.
Salvador Flores None, united states
Quick and easy to get started.
Emma Davis None, united states
Great
Juan Gamez None, united states
Great easy to navigate site
Caleb Cato None, united states
easy to use website
Edna McZeal None, united states
Easy and Friendly.
Ashley Moreno None, united states
it was fast and easy
yesenia Martinez TX, united states
it was quick and easy
Phillip Wrobel Texas , united states
It has been good
KASUNDRA ISIBOR Texas, united states
very informative information
Tovi Butcher TEXAS, united states
Keeps you engaged and understanding of the law and consequences of disobeying it.
Erum Sardar None, united states
Its fast and cheap
Iyceton White None, united states
quick and easy
Doris Brown None, united states
Easy to navigate
Darrius Cohen None, united states
Good very good
Raul Pacheco Medina Tx, united states
Easy to set up account
Sarah Cavazos united states
Quick and easy
See all reviews on shopperApproved.com
Why DefensiveDriving.com
  • 20 Years in Business
  • Over 2 Million Customers Served
  • Highest Possible Better Business Bureau Rating
  • Award Winning Course