Tip & How-To about Smart fortwo
(This tip is not for any specific make or model. A "General" catagory was not available.)
If you keep your auto’s maintenance schedule up to date, then chances are you’ll never have any engine trouble. And while that may be a good thing, it doesn’t give you much experience with knowing what to do when things do start to go haywire.
Take for instance a day when you’re either driving to work or driving home from work. And it’s been a tough year, so you haven’t been paying much attention to your auto, and the radiator fluid level is running dangerously low. So, you’re on the road, it’s 100 degrees outside, your AC is doing it’s job but unfortunately some drivers aren’t doing their jobs at paying attention behind the wheel and the inevitable accident happens followed by an undetermined amount of time you’ll be stuck right where you are.
Although you know you shouldn’t run your AC in those conditions, but it’s just too hot. Eventually, the radiator will overheat and start blowing hot steam out from under your hood. What should you do?
First, you really should have turned off that AC, but you didn’t, did you? Hopefully, you were able to notice something was wrong by the smell of burning rubber and radiator fluid seeping into the cab from under the dash. Then you could have prevented a full overheat. Contrary to what you might think, pulling over to the side of the road is not your only option and you may not be able to. Besides, if you did pull over, it would take quite some time for a 400-degree radiator to cool to a comfortable 100 degrees.
The best course of action would be to shut off the AC whether you like it or not. Otherwise you will be standing outside on hot pavement soon. Open all the windows and turn your heater on it’s hottest setting, and the fans as high as possible and aim them toward the open windows.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it, but consider in the winter time when you use your auto’s heater. Where do you suppose the heat comes from? That’s right--something overheating under the hood. That something is usually radiator fluid running from the radiator through all parts of the engine not unlike your body’s circulatory system. But instead of carrying oxygen to all parts of the body, the cool radiator fluid is pumped from the radiator (i.e. reservoir) through the channels in the engine block absorbing heat from the engine, and boils on it’s return trip to the radiator where it will be forced through much smaller, thinner, channels to release the heat. As the fluid passes through the radiator, the radiator fan blows outside ambient air across the channels and it absorbs the heat from the radiator fluid boiling inside.
The air also blows across the engine to help cool it a little, and even though the air is hot, it’s still much cooler than the engine itself. That hot air warms you in the winter, and is your ticket home today. Keep it moving over the engine. Keep the fan blowing by keeping the heat on high. You will see an almost instant improvement by the engine’s temperature gauge slowly dropping. Power off all unnecessary electrical devices because they put a burden on the engine. Stay a good distance from the hot exhaust emitting from the car ahead of you, and drive to the nearest service station.
Some of you might wonder why not just pull over and phone AAA. Well, frankly they can be a big help, but they have to get to you, through the traffic cluster while you stand on the highway watching tomorrow’s ride to work have a total melt-down. By the time anyone gets to you, the damage will have been done.
I hope this helps someone in some small way.
Posted by Randy... on
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