The hot weather is one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the summer season if you’re a human being. If you’re a vehicle, the heat means additional strain on vital components during towing, hauling and long family trips.
Poorly maintained parts tend to show themselves when vehicles are pushed to extremes.
As such, a sweltering summer day is a fantastic time for overheating, driveline failure or engine damage, if your cooling system isn’t performing properly. Any of the above will leave you stranded on the roadside with a car full of sweaty, irritated and cranky family members. Fortunately, readying your cooling system for warm-weather travelling is a relatively quick and painless endeavour.
In addition to keeping your engine running at its ideal operating temperature, your cooling system may play a part in keeping other components, like your transmission, from overheating as well. Your cooling system works by circulating coolant throughout the engine to absorb and remove the tremendous heat it generates while running.
Over time, the effectiveness of the coolant diminishes, and a coolant change is required. This occurs in varying intervals for different vehicles, or on an “as-needed” basis as advised by your mechanic. Forget when your coolant was changed last? It’s probably overdue.
If your ride is dripping green fluid and you’re planning a road trip anyways, you’re asking for trouble. Overheating can quickly lead to engine failure and permanent, catastrophic damage. Cooling system repairs tend to be considerably more affordable than an engine replacement.
A periodic radiator flush is also advisable to remove harmful sludge from within the cooling system. Sludge may accumulate within the radiator and hoses over time, reducing effectiveness and component life.
Protecting your engine from the heat this summer is only half the battle — and you’ll want to make sure you and your passengers benefit from a reliable and effective air conditioning system. If your A/C seems hesitant to blow cold, or if it isn’t cooling the cabin as quickly as you remember, an inspection is in order. This can often reveal a small problem before it escalates into a much larger and pricier one.
For instance, a leaking A/C line or fitting may allow air, moisture or other contaminants into the system. This can cause a world of trouble and result in serious damage. Air and moisture mixing with refrigerant is bad news — so fixing a leak early on can save money, not to mention preventing potentially harmful chemicals from winding up in the atmosphere.
A simple mechanical or electrical failure could result in improper operation of the A/C system, too.