How to keep your Car and Yourself from Overheating

Discussion in 'T&AA - Travel and Anything Automotive' started by JD666, Jun 30, 2014.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    A simple checklist that will ensure we make through the summer with little or no pain ..

    The summer heat plays on different parts of your vehicle in different ways. Other than the obvious paint finish getting faded, rubber beading hardening up and anything on the dash melting - There are some issues that happen under the hood and need to be addressed as well. Summer is the time for seals to work themselves loose, leaks and drips to begin and generally wiring to harden up.

    So here are some tips to help you get through the Summer Sun and heat without straining too much -

    a) Coolant level is at the right mark.

    Check this weekly to make sure you are not leaking or losing coolant. If you notice a severe a drop in coolant, get it inspected ASAP. Remember, you don't have to put coolant only every time you top up. You can simply top up using distilled water (which will prevent gumming or deposits inside the radiator).

    Coolant is generally mixed in a 1:6 ratio and most of the Chemical Additives are biological inhibitors that prevent the growth of bacteria, fungus or anything else that would block or effect the cooling performance. Also anti-rust additives etc.

    b) Check that the Front radiator and A/C Cooling coil are clean

    They should not have any obstructions affecting cooling. Its a good practice to not waste too much water but instead clean it with a pressure wash. Just cleaning the front area from time to time and ensure you do not bend the fins on the radiator.

    c) The radiator fan housing should be intact

    There should be no melted regions that could indicate an overheated fan motor. This will save you from a potential break down in the middle of the road.

    d) Check the Engine Oil level

    The Engine oil not only helps with lubrication but also helps with cooling the engine. If your vehicle is due for a service after a couple of months best to get it done now so that you have fresh, efficient Engine oil circulating in the engine.

    e) Check the Air Filter -

    Because air in summer time is not as dense as winters. This does cause power loss (since lesser air is being fed to the engine). So ensure that your air-filter is in good shape. Clean with pressurized air if necessary, else replace if too dusty.

    f) Most dealerships and service centers offer a free A/C Check up camp.

    Avail of this, and get your vehicle Air-Conditioner checked if your car is more than 2-3 years old.

    g) Check all wiring

    Make sure they are not brittle or getting too hard. Remember too hard a wiring will eventually break due to the vibrations and will cause issues.

    h) Tyre Pressure and Condition

    Depending on what time of the day do you fill air, keep it lower by 1-2 PSI. Remember air expands as it heats up, and this does become evident, especially during summers. The difference can be as much as 2-3 psi. Some people recommend using Nitrogen in tyres since it expands lesser. I generally fill Nitrogen once at the beginning of the summer season and then keep topping it up every week with regular air.

    Also check the nozzle rubber for cuts, damage or potential of any leakage. Keep spare valves and valve tool handy in such a scenario.

    Do not overlook the spare tyre. Since that is what will come handy in the event of a puncture.

    Some Additional pointers for day-to-day care -

    i) Use proper sun shade to protect the dash and interiors. With the recent ban on sun film in India, it is quite hard to protect your interiors but there is nothing in the rule book that says sun blinds and window blinds cannot be installed. Use them properly and save your interiors from the direct sunlight and the harmful effects and also to keep everything safe inside from prying eyes.

    j) Remember to remove any and all electronic equipment/batteries from the cabin - Your GPS, Car stereo fascia, charger, iPod, spare mobile, any batteries or other electronic equipment that can be removed. Portable Electronics have batteries inside them which should not exposed to constant high temperatures.

    Most of these items are designed to handle the summer sun. But better to be safe than sorry. I keep a small backpack that I prepare everything in. I simply carry it with me to and from the car, that's all. Also it proves for a handy storage for CDs etc.

    I've seen one too many CD's and cassettes warping in the Delhi sun. Be careful.

    k) Keeping the insides cool while driving - The interior of a vehicle can get as high as 75 degrees C in the summer sun.

    When you start your vehicle,

    • Do not let it idle for too long, since it will cause the engine to reach temps that would require the radiator fan to start cooling. Wait for the idle to drop to normal and drive off. The heat ensures that everything is soft (oil) and well lubed.
    • Use the A/C effectively - Open the windows and the A/C re-circulation vent. This will allow for some of the cooler (so to speak, but 40 degrees is still cooler than 60 degrees inside) air from outside to enter, resulting in a much faster cooling of the cabin. After a few minutes, close the re-circulation vent and use A/C normally.

    Also remember, Set the thermostat, not the fan. Most people have a tendency to leave the thermostat on full cool, while controlling the conditioning with the fan speed. It's just stressing out your compressor more but not giving it time to cut out. So leave the fan speed at 2-3, but reduce the amount of cooling from the thermostat. This will reduce the stress on your compressor, improve mileage and also help keep your engine cool.

    l) During traffic - Keep a suitable distance while driving. Remember all vehicles around you are also expunging heat from their radiators and exhaust. Tail gating someone is not the ideal way to keep your engine cool. Same goes for when at a traffic stop. It can be frustrating, but if you know you're doing your engine and vehicle a favor, it might help keep the calm.

    m) Don't over rev or stay in a low gear for too long. Again the principle is the same, higher revs - more fuel - more heat energy - higher temps. Keep the engine in the optimum zone, this will help keep it cool and also give you best efficiency.

    n) Fuel right - Don't go for all the way at the top and then a few extra litres on top. Always fill till about 90-95% of your tank capacity. This will help venting the air and will reduce the stress on the fuel pump. Remember, gas build up is much higher and stronger during summers in the fuel tank.

    Oh and the whole fueling in the evening or night giving you more fuel, is a myth. Fuel is sold by displaced weight for the same volume at a standard density. So irrespective of what time you fill up, you'll get the same amount of net fuel, though the density might differ.

    Other bits -

    - Use a good Silicon spray on all exterior and interior rubber parts that would be exposed to sunlight. This will ensure that they stay soft and do not get brittle.

    - Be careful while washing your car in sunlight, the droplets of water can act as a magnifying glass, intensifying the rays of the sun. This will damage your paint. Best to wipe your car with a wet cloth and then with a dry one.

    - Invest in a good polish + Paint protection treatment that helps save your paint from ageing, fading and the vehicle looking old in no time.

    - If possible buy a car cover (reflective silver type) and use it. Anything above 1.5 hours, spend that extra 5 minutes to put it on and stow it. Use a duffel bag to stash it away when not needed. This will keep your trunk clutter free as well.

    Feel free to add your pointers down below & Drive safe!
    crackpot and MohitGamer like this.
  2. crackpot

    crackpot RAID Rookie

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    Useful information!
  3. turbo99i

    turbo99i RAID Rookie

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    Nice article JD :)

    One thing which we almost forget- Change of coolant every two years, unless sure its a long life, then do it at least every 5 yrs. Coolant degrades over the time, good properties shift from normal function. Also having a check on accessory drive belt, its not cracked or loose, is a good habit. Condensation water from fridge/AC is good for coolant top-up. Second hand cars, If your car has a provision for pollen filter, check it/change it or fit new if not present. Pollen filter stop elements getting stuck in the AC evaporator (the cooling part) eventually reducing the efficiency. Cost save measures, means people ignore pollen filters altogether. Should the High temp light on the dash ever comes on, cut the engine immediately coast the car in neutral to a safe place. Let the engine cool down fully before adding any water and finding out the leak if apparent. Hot engine + cold water = warped cylinder head + Head gasket failure + coolant in Oil or other way around= $$$$ (engine rebuild).
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