The automobiles designed and manufactured for today’s driving enthusiasts have changed in many ways to accommodate new fuel efficiency standards and advanced technology. However, many of the basic engine components in these high tech vehicles have been the standard for the last several decades. The cooling system of most cars is still composed of a liquid-filled radiator and the ancillary components of the system. Though highly efficient, this system can be overtaxed and lead to overheating in the engine.
One primary reason for overheating in an automobile can be cooling system failure due to breakdown or leakage of the coolant. It’s necessary to check the fluid level in your cooling system whenever you have your automobile serviced or at least once every three months. Especially in extreme environments, the coolant can begin to break down and will become less efficient over time. Yearly changing of this coolant fluid and an inspection of the overall system will help reduce the likelihood a breakdown due to engine overheating will occur.
Overloading an automobile can lead to additional engine strain, and therefore additional heat energy produced. This heat energy is normally dissipated by the radiator in the cooling system along with the coolant inside, but smaller vehicles will typically have smaller cooling systems. Small, four-cylinder engines are normally not equipped to pull heavier loads on trailers, and doing so may cause engine overheating. If you find you must use a smaller vehicle to pull a trailer, try to limit the size of the load and take extra precautions to decrease heat production by the engine. Driving slower and avoiding hills will be helpful.
Although many automobiles have the ability to reach highway speeds well in excess of the posted legal limits, it’s not always advisable to do so. High speed driving puts additional strain on the engine and transmission and can cause failure in both the engine oil and transmission fluid. Take the time to fully understand the various types of engine oils and transmission fluids available for high-performance automobiles and know the limits of your particular vehicle. Just as the engine has a radiator, most automatic transmissions have a smaller radiator that cools the transmission fluid, but may be compromised during extreme heat conditions.
Keep your radiator clean and free of debris. Large amounts of debris imbedded in the radiator will decrease the available surface area for cooling. A weekly cleaning at the local carwash can help increase the ability of your cooling system to keep your engine at a safe operating temperature.