If the temperature on your vehicle is in the red zone, if it is getting hot, or your warning beeper that some vehicles are equipped with goes off, pull over and turn off your vehicle immediately.  If you see coolant leaking, see smoke from under the hood of your vehicle or smell coolant (sweet syrup smell) then pull over and turn off your vehicle immediately.  We have written a few articles on the cooling system of your engine, but realize not everyone understands how crucial this system is for the protection of your vehicle’s engine.

It is very important to have your engine’s cooling system inspected with each oil change.  Whenever there is a leak or an issue with your cooling system it should be fixed right away and not left to a later date.  The temperature gauge on the dash of your vehicle gets its information from the coolant temperature sensor.  This coolant temperature sensor is in the radiator or coolant reservoir it measures the temperature of the coolant, but if the coolant level is low, then it has nothing to measure and is inaccurate.  So if you have a coolant leak and you are refilling the coolant in your vehicle regularly, you could be overheating your vehicle and not even know it.

When a vehicle is overheated you risk the potential of engine damage.  The cylinder heads on today’s engines are aluminum, they can warp from being overheated and it can blow the cylinder head gasket in between the engine and cylinders.  If coolant gets into the oil passages it can cause bearings in the engine to get damaged, causing lower end engine damage that would require an engine replacement or an engine to be rebuilt.

Regular inspections and repairs being performed when cooling system issues are still minor should help to keep your vehicle from overheating.  But if something fails and it starts to overheat, pull over turn your vehicle off and call for a tow.  It is a lot less expensive to pay a tow bill, than for a head gasket repair or engine replacement due to overheating damage, also make sure to tell your trusted repair facility that your vehicle has been overheating so that they can run proper tests to check for damage.  Happy Motoring!

Karen Johnston

All About Automotive, Inc.

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