School’s out for the summer and many West Michigan families are getting ready to hit the road. Whether you’re going on a longer summer adventure, or just driving the family to the beach, understanding and maintaining two important systems in your vehicle will help avoid hot weather breakdowns.
Keep Cool With Well-Maintained Air Conditioner
A car, truck or SUV air-conditioner system does not simply blow cold air into the car. The air-conditioning system is actually designed to remove the hot air from within the vehicle cabin and dispel it to the atmosphere outside the car.
In order to do so, the air conditioner system relies on a number of components to operate effectively. Like all mechanical parts, these items are prone to wear and regular system servicing helps to protect them from breakdown. The air conditioning system is pressurized by a gas known as a refrigerant. Each vehicle specifies how much refrigerant is used to fill the system.
When the air in your air conditioning (AC) begins to lose power and the air doesn’t feel too cold, it may be time for an AC recharge. It must be noted, however, that recharging your AC is a temporary fix to a likely bigger problem. If your system is indeed missing refrigerant, your AC system has a leak and needs to be inspected and repaired. Refrigerant does not evaporate in an airtight system so air is leaking in.
During our A/C Inspection, we check the following for function:
- Expansion valve or orifice tube
- Receiver, drier, or accumulator
From a quick tuneup or air conditioner flush to replacing components, let the experts at Borgman attend to your car’s air conditioning system – while you wait!
Radiator Risks in Summer Heat
While cabin comfort is important to the humans in the vehicle, proper engine cooling is equally important for the health of your vehicle’s engine. Hot, summer air in heavy traffic or traffic jams can stress even a well-maintained radiator. Overheating is the #1 cause of summer breakdowns, according to ASE.
Low coolant levels in high heat can kill your engine. Also be aware that if you have a damaged radiator or hoses, the coolant may leak causing your engine temperature to rise even more. In summer weather, always keep an eye on vehicle’s temperature gauge.
Make sure your radiator is adequately filled with coolant at the right concentration — usually a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, but check your car’s specifications. The radiator should be flushed every two years. If it hasn’t been serviced, do so before you hit the road.
Also take time before a long trip to inspect your hoses, looking for leaks, cracks, peeling or separation. While the engine is still warm, squeeze along the hose’s length — it should feel firm, but not hard. If the hose is spongy or soft in even one section, consider replacing it before it fails and causes bigger problems.
Carry duct tape, which may serve as a very short-term fix for a blown hose while you seek help. However, remember that duct tape can’t stand too much heat.
Intermittent Overheating Causes
If your car is overheating at idle, but it’s fine the rest of the time, then there are a handful of different problems that you might be dealing with. The most likely reason for this type of problem is that your fan isn’t working, but the reason, and the fix, will differ depending on the car you drive. Intermittent overheating problems can also be caused by low coolant, air in the cooling system, a bad coolant temperature sensor, or even a faulty gauge.
Here are some of the basic things you can check when your car overheats at idle:
- The coolant level
- Only check when the engine is cool.
- Low coolant can cause overheating.
- Air bubbles in the cooling system can also cause issues.
- Only use the specified type of antifreeze to top off the system.
- Fan belt problems
- If the fan is driven by a belt, check the belt.
- A loose fan belt can result in overheating.
- If the belt is loose, frayed, or missing, replace it.
- Electric radiator fan problems
- If the fan is electric, check to see if it’s plugged in.
- You may be able to test the fans by turning on your A/C, which often causes the fan to turn on or cycle.
- The fan motor may be burned out, or there could be a problem with the fan switch, a resistor pack, or wiring.
Visit Borgman for a cooling system checkup, and we’ll inspect your vehicle’s system and replace any damaged or worn components, such as water pumps, thermostats, and hoses.