Our fleet fuel card company knows that getting stranded because of an overheating engine isn’t fun – especially if you’ve got a delivery deadline. Here are some things you should know about overheating engines, including how to prevent them from occurring and what to do if it happens:
Watch the temperature gauge.
This may seem like basic advice, but many drivers rarely pay attention to their temperature gauge. Once your vehicle has been running for a little white, take note as to what temperature it safely idles at. Then, be sure to check it often. If you notice the temperature is hotter than normal, you could catch an overheating before it does a lot of damage.
Check for leaks.
Since you don’t really see the ground underneath your car when it’s parked, it can be hard to remember to check it once you pull away. Make it a point to check it, however, and you could help save your engine. If you notice your coolant is leaking, it could lower the efficiency of your vehicle’s cooling system and cause your engine to overheat.
Don’t haul more than necessary.
You may not want to make two trips to transport your goods, but overfilling your vehicle or hauling more than you should can put extra stress on its engine, suspension, tires, and more. Your vehicle will have to work harder than usual to keep your load moving, so instead of risking an engine overheating, spend a little extra time moving all of your goods in stages.
If you’re overheating…
If you do experience an overheating, first turn your air conditioner off (since it’s causing the vehicle to use more power). Then, check for steam coming from underneath your hood. If you see steam, pull over and turn off the engine (make sure not to idle because your engine has to work harder to idle than to move). Pop the hood and (if it’s not too hot) check your coolant level. If you notice you’re low, you probably have a leak. If it’s at the right level, check your radiator hoses for loose clamps.
If you still can’t pinpoint the problem, check the brakes. Brake calipers and brake pads are high pressurized and many times, can stick. Whether they stick and then loosen as you drive or they’re permanently stuck, your engine has to make up for the resistance that the adherence is causing – which means it could be working too hard and is overheating.