How To Keep it Cool On Summer Roads

Summer road trips bring the threat of engine overheating.

Fortunately, all it takes is some basic maintenance to prevent being that person stranded on the side of the road with an engine hot enough to sear steaks.

“Most vehicles overheat due to poor maintenance of the vehicle or a system/component failure,” said Jared Avent, training manager at Universal Technical Institute Sacramento campus.

Engines rely on fans and coolants to help maintain a balanced temperature. Coolant in the radiator must be replenished or replaced routinely to keep the engine operating smoothly.

A coolant flush removes old fluid from the system, along with any debris. Newer vehicles can last longer before their coolant needs to be replaced, Avent said, and the owner’s manual offers the best guide for service intervals.

Avent provided the following advice on coolant maintenance and what to do if your vehicle overheats:

  • 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.
  • Engine coolant is like oil, it needs to be replenished and replaced periodically.
  • Adding tap water to the radiator can introduce foreign materials that corrode hoses and causes hot spots within the engine.
  • Continuing to drive an overheating engine can cause severe damage. Consider getting a tow to a local service center or repair shop.