Filling your radiator with coolant (a.k.a. antifreeze) is like drinking a glass of ice water on a hot day. It cools you (and your car) down. How do engines prevent overheating? It all starts with coolant: a circulatory system for your car. Read ahead to learn how engines stay cool

Car engines are a hot place.

Your car engine is fiery. That’s totally acceptable. It’s impossible to make your car move without generating some heat.

That said, there can be too much of a good thing. If your car works too hard — or it’s not getting the “nutrients” (auto fluids) it needs to perform — then your engine might overheat.

Overheating has serious consequences. In a worst case scenario, your engine might suffer critical damage. Engine repairs and replacements aren’t cheap. Expect to spend thousands!

If your temperature gauge gets close to the “H,” pull over immediately. I don’t care how far you are from home. It’d be better to get a tow. I’d rather spend $30-100 on a tow than risk spending 10-100x that much on a new or re-manufactured engine. Wouldn’t you?!

Why do car engines overheat?

Low coolant is a common culprit. This might be caused by a broken hose. When coolant bleeds from your car’s system, there’s no way it can cool down your engine. If you suspect this is true, look for a leak the next time you pull over. Hint: coolant smells sweet.

You could have a broken fan belt. Coolant can’t do your car any good when it’s not circulating. Fan belts spread the love to every part of your engine. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll overheat. You could also have a problem with your radiator cap, water pump, or head gasket.

Your best bet? Find an auto shop near you in the Women Auto Know directory. Pledged shops promise to educate (not intimidate) their customers. They also believe in service (not sales). If you’re looking for a repair shop that doesn’t resort to sleazy sales tactics, you’re in the right place! 

How can overheating be avoided?

Emergency repairs are expensive and unexpected. You’re driving to work or Disney and BOOM. You have a flat-tire. Your car breaks down. You’re stranded in a city you’ve never even visited.

Preventive repairs are proactive and productive. You’re investing in the condition of your car now to prevent potential problems in the future. If you prioritize prevention, you’ll save SO much time, money, and trouble. Believe me, I’ve seen enough neglected cars to know this is true! 

You can apply this concept to your car engine. First, be aware of what driving situations might cause overheating. Driving up a high incline is exhausting. So if you’re climbing a big mountain, be careful. Also, hot temperatures increase the risk of overheating. Summer is prime-time for it!

If you’re taking a road trip that involves high temperatures and/or steep drives, buy an extra tub of coolant. Keep it inside your trunk. Now you can refill your coolant and get to an auto shop before your engine gets too hot. Also, consider timing your coolant flushes/refills with long trips.

Most automakers recommend flushing and refilling your coolant every other year. Alternatively, invest in this service every 40,000-60,000 miles. Every vehicle is different, so there’s not “one” best solution. For a more specific recommendation, consult the owner’s manual for your vehicle.

Now you know how engines stay cool. Use these tips to protect your engine from harm! If you want to help your friends avoid overheating, share this blog on social media. They’ll appreciate the advice.

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