One of the quickest ways to put a stop to a summer road trip is if the engine overheats, leaving you stuck at the side of the road awaiting a recovery van and knowing that you will eventually have to pay a large repair bill.
What's worse is that on hot days this problem is more likely to catch you out if something is faulty with your engine anyway. It is important to know what can cause your engine to overheat and how you can at least delay the issue until you can take your car to a garage.
One of the main issues that can cause an engine to overheat is if there is a problem with the coolant system, in particular if coolant fluid levels are low. Typically, running the heater to keep the radiator ticking over should help to avoid overheating but this simply will not work if the coolant levels are low.
Should you start to see your temperature gauge creeping up to hot or you notice steam emitting from your bonnet then you ought to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Once you have done this, open the bonnet to allow the heat to disperse faster.
Wait for the engine to cool and then open the radiator cap to check the coolant reserve. If levels are low then top it up with coolant. If this is not readily available, then filling the reservoir with water should work in the short-term.
It is also worth checking over your vehicle to find out if there is any reason why the coolant levels have lowered. There may be a leak somewhere in the radiator so you should check the pipes over to see if there is coolant fluid escaping from anywhere.
If you have a long journey planned for the summer it may be worth booking in for a vehicle health check so that you can find out if there are any problems that could cause your engine to overheat before this becomes an issue.
Posted by Danielle Barge