Heading off to college represents a major leap toward independence, and your car is one of the most important things you will take with you to school. During the next four years, you will drive many miles as you go back home for breaks and embark upon epic road trip adventures with your friends. Yet, every mile you travel is putting wear and tear on your car that can impact your ability to live comfortably on your own. According to the Chicago Tribune, overheating is one of the top five reasons for a car to breakdown. Fortunately, you can prevent being stranded on the side of the road by taking these precautions.
Check Fluid Levels
Your vehicle's radiator sends coolant through the engine to keep it cool. Although this is a closed system, it is possible for your fluid levels to drop due to small leaks and evaporation. For this reason, you should check your coolant levels once a month or at least every time you get your oil changed. If you notice that it is low, resist the temptation to top it off with water. Coolant has special components that help lubricate the engine and prevent rust. Water will work in a pinch, but coolant will keep your engine in top condition.
Inspect the Hoses
When you check your fluid levels, you should also check the hoses and reservoir. Begin by looking under your car to see if there are any leaks. Coolant is usually a green or rusty-orange color, so seeing those fluids beneath your car is a good sign that you need to take your car in for repairs. You can also feel along the hoses running from the reservoir to the radiator and the radiator to the engine. If you notice any bulges, softness or cracks, then these should also be replaced.
Watch the Temperature Gauge
Driving long distances requires constant attention to the road, but it is important to glance occasionally at your gauges to make sure the temperature is not starting to rise. If you notice that your car is approaching the danger zone, immediately turn off your air conditioner and drive to a safe place to stop. Continuing to drive your car while it is overheating can lead to catastrophic damage such as a cracked engine head.
Paying attention to your car's cooling system is essential for getting the most miles out of your vehicle, and radiator repair is far easier to deal with than a major engine overhaul. This year, make sure to keep your car cool so that you can enjoy your first year of college without worrying about a roadside nightmare. If you do ever find yourself in a tough situation with your car, visit a repair service such as Branford Radiator Repair Service.