BOISE – It’s road trip season, and temperatures are climbing across the country.  But if you’re one of the millions of Americans heading out on a summer adventure, an overheated car can quickly take the fun out of the equation.

“Your engine fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle, and just like the human body, depleted levels or imbalance need to be taken seriously and resolved immediately,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “In both cases, a proactive approach can prevent a much bigger issue.”

An overheated engine can damage vital components and can even warp the engine block.  Here are some of AAA’s tips to beat the heat:

  • Make sure your cooling system, hoses, and radiator are in good condition, and that hoses are tight and well-connected.  Always keep fluid levels topped off – and if you regularly use the same repair shop for oil changes, many have a free top-off policy.
  • Keep water in the car for people, pets, or to top off your radiator.
  • If you can’t pull over immediately, turn off the A/C and turn on the heat to bring down engine temperatures in an emergency.
  • Never remove a hot radiator cap.  Wait at least 15 minutes before adding coolant or water.
  • Use flares, reflectors, and a raised hood to alert other drivers.