Road Trip Solutions: How to Avoid Engine Overheating
Finally. The car is packed, swimsuits safely stowed in the luggage, salty snacks at the ready in the red food bag, and 24 cans of that oh-so-good soda are chilling in the cooler. Your mind is off of work for the next 10 days, nothing but sun, family, friends, and open road for you. The engine roars to life and off you go. As Murphy’s Law would have it, halfway to your fun-filled destination, that little red needle has crept up on the temperature gauge. As your engine sputters and wheezes you pull over to the side of the road and it hits you – you prepared for all the fun, but forgot to prepare for your transportation.
We have all passed by some sad sap on the side of the road, hood up, steam rolling out, driver just standing there with a hand on their head wondering how they got there. Usually, we just think to ourselves “phew, glad that isn’t me” as we glance at the gauges just to check and make sure they are all good. While breakdowns happen, there are things you can do to help make sure that you are less likely to experience one.
To assist with your summer road trip, we have assembled a group of products that can help you prep your car for summer travel and make sure that if you do have a problem, you have what you need to get you back on the road so you can get a permanent repair.
Make sure that your cooling system is properly filled and functional. Before you head out for that road trip, now is a good time to flush your coolant system and refill it with the correct coolant. There are some concerns when it comes to engine coolant, the main one is that you must have the right stuff for your vehicle. Some GM vehicles used Dex-Cool, which is orange antifreeze. If you mix non-universal green antifreeze with Dex-Cool, it turns into gel and basically ruins your engine’s cooling system. Don’t make that mistake, check with your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store on which type you need.
NAPA RTU1DEX is the perfect solution for GM vehicles with Dex-Cool coolant. This is a pre-mixed coolant, so you don’t need water. Make sure you have a gallon or two in your trunk before you head out on the road.
For every other vehicle on the road, and including GM Dex-Cool vehicle, NAPA’s universal coolant RTU1EXT is formulated for compatibility with all makes and models, regardless of the coolant color. This is also a pre-mix coolant, so you don’t need any additional water. An additional benefit of this coolant is the fact that it is extended life, so it will last up to 150k miles or five years, whichever comes first when a flush and fill is performed on the cooling system.
OK, so you prepped but life happened and now you have a problem. You noticed the small green puddle at the gas station. You know what it is, don’t try to fool yourself into thinking it is nothing. It probably isn’t, and ignoring it very well could leave you on the side of the road. Open your trunk, console, or glove box and grab one of the following products that you bought with this problem in mind. You will be glad you did. Remember that any time you have a leak in the coolant system, you must replace the lost coolant, hence keeping a gallon or two of 50/50 mix coolant in your vehicle at all times.
Coolant System Sealer
Once the engine cools, open the radiator cap or reservoir and pour it into the radiator. You may never need it, but you will be glad you had it on hand when you do. There are many products available to do this job, we have selected the following four products for you to consider.
Blue Devil Radiator and Block Sealer – This product bonds with plastic, cast iron, aluminum, and other alloys and metals. It is compatible with gas or diesel engines. This product does not have any solids or fibers and is guaranteed to make a permanent repair (until you can get a proper repair that is). BlueDevil radiator and block sealer guarantees a permanent repair of your leaking cooling system.
K-Seal – If you just had a major engine cooling failure, K-Seal is there to help fix it so you can get down the road to the nearest NAPA AutoCare Center. K-Seal repairs cracked heads, blown head gaskets, cracked blocks, radiators, heater cores, and water pumps. It is compatible with all coolant types and you don’t have to flush the coolant system before or after use. If your issue is in the head gasket, engine block, or radiator, then K-Seal can treat it so you can get on down the road.
Prestone Stop Leak – If you have big hole, you need Prestone Stop Leak. This stuff repairs leaks as small as .016” and up to 1/2”. If your radiator has a hole bigger than a half-inch, you will probably be needing a tow truck. Formulated with Kevlar fibers, Prestone Stop Leak will fix leaks without obstructing coolant flow. Since 1927 Prestone has been making quality oils and fluids for vehicles. That same quality goes into their Radiator Stop Leak
Valvoline Zerex Super Sealer – The only product authorized by Cummins to repair Cummins Diesel engine cooling systems, Zerex Super Sealer is a must for any diesel-powered vehicle. The water based formula seals your cooling system leak within one hour while the engine is running using all natural components (plant fiber, clay, and water) and is non-clogging. If you are working with a Diesel engine cooling leak, then Zerex Super Sealer is what you need. It works for all Diesel and gas engines alike.
With your leak sealed, you can get back on the road. Make sure that you have the damaged assessed by a NAPA AutoCare Center to determine whether you can make it back home or if you need to have repairs made while on your vacation. Nobody wants to have a breakdown, but if you do, NAPA AUTO PARTS is there to help you get back on the road as soon as possible.
For more information on how to avoid engine overheating, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.