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Stay Cool This Summer

Stay cool this summer!

Keep your car (and you) from overheating

Back in the days before effective cooling and air conditioning, cars were prone to overheating. (And, by extension, so were car owners!)

As time went by, technology evolved to keep cars cooler both under the hood and inside the cabin.

No one likes sitting in a hot car that’s been out in the sun all day. And no one wants an overheated vehicle. Follow these steps to a cooler car and a cooler you!

Keep your engine cool:

  • Use AC sparingly. Your air conditioning compressor runs off your car’s engine; switch it off to keep your engine from working so hard.
  • Check your coolant. If your car’s coolant (antifreeze) level is low, your engine is running hotter than it should. You can add coolant yourself — just follow the directions in your operator’s manual. Most drivers relay on their mechanics to do this for them.
  • Check your oil. Engine oil disperses heat generated by your engine. Most cars’ engines still have an accessible dipstick. Again, check your operator’s manual.

If things get too hot

  • Pull over. Jack Hewatt, a service manager at the Norcross, GA CarMax store, says to pull off the road if your car’s temperature reads in the red. “You don’t want to drive in an overheated condition for any duration of time,” Jack says. “so pull over, turn on the heat to move more coolant through engine block, and lift your hood to let it cool down.” 
  • Richmond, VA CarMax Service Manager Dan Greene says sticking to your car’s maintenance schedule cuts the risk of overheating. “This helps your car run as efficiently as possible,” Dan says. “The more efficiently the engine runs, the less strain on your car’s systems.”

Keep your interior cool:

  • Crack your windows. Keep your windows open an inch or so during the day to let hot air escape. Check the weather forecast first!
  • Tweak your vent settings. Hot air rises. When you get in your car on a really warm day, set your climate controls to push fresh or AC air through the footwell vents first. Open your windows and/or your sunroof. The trapped, hot air will move up and out faster.
  • Use cold packs. Position ice-cold freezer packs in front of the blowing dash vents. It works!
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