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Five Things You Can Do To Prevent Your Car From Overheating When Your Cooling System Is Not Working Properly

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Your radiator and the rest of your cooling system is responsible for keeping your car cool, and if these elements aren't working correctly, your engine may overheat. Ideally, you should take your vehicle to a radiator shop as soon as possible so they can look over your system. However, if you cannot get there right away, there are a few things you can do to help your engine avoid overheating, even if the cooling system isn't working:

1. Don't tow anything.

Towing anything puts extra pressure on your vehicle and forces your engine to work harder. That can cause your engine to overheat, especially if the coolant system and radiator aren't working correctly. In fact, utes that have maximum towing capacity actually have heavy-duty cooling systems so they can contend with the pressures and heat associated with towing heavy weights.

To protect your engine, don't tow anything. If you need to tow something, hire another vehicle and use that, or hire a professional transporter to tow the item for you.

2. Reduce weight inside the car.

It isn't just the weight that you pull behind you that can have an effect on your car. The weight that is in your vehicle can also cause your engine to work harder. To give your vehicle a break, empty out any superfluous items. Take out random items that are in the car and even consider removing things like spare tyres, extra removable seats, luggage racks on top of the car and similar types of items.

When driving other people, be strategic about it, and if possible, try to avoid hauling around lots of people. If you need a repair to your radiator or cooling system, you may want to wait until that repair is complete before you start a carpool or take on a job as an Uber driver, for example.

3. Avoid the heat.

Heat from outside your car can also affect the temperature of the engine inside your car. To prevent your car from overheating, try to schedule your drives for times of the day when it's not that hot outside. For example, run your errands in the early morning or evening when the temperatures are a bit lower.

Also, take care not to park your car in the sun. Always try to find a shady spot, even if it means walking a few extra blocks. Unfortunately, if you park in the sun, your engine may already be hot when you start your car, and if the cooling system and radiator aren't working correctly, it's more likely to continue to heat up as you drive, potentially leading to an overheating situation.

4. Don't use the air conditioner.

If you want your engine to stay cool, it may seem helpful to turn on the air conditioner. However, although this cools the inside of your car, it does not cool your engine. In fact, running the AC has the opposite effect on your engine. It can actually make it hotter. In most cases, the cooling system combats this effect, but if your cooling system isn't working, you may notice the overheating gauge climbing steadily as you try to cool the interior of your car.  

5. Replace the coolant fluid.

Even if your system isn't working correctly, you should still take care of it until you get a repair. In particular, remember to change the coolant fluid. This is the fluid that runs through the engine to cool it down. However, if your radiator isn't working correctly, it likely isn't telling the system to circulate the coolant or antifreeze when needed. As a result, these substances are just sitting in your system. Unfortunately, the fluid can wear out, and it can cause rust and corrosion to the system. That can ultimately cause your cooling system to degrade even further.