As temperatures rise, they can take a toll on your vehicle – especially if it hasn’t been properly serviced by a trained technician. Did you know that the No. 1 cause of engine failure is overheating? To help you prepare for some of the hottest days of the year, below are six tips to avoid having an overheated car.

1. Watch out for signs that your engine is overheating: The best indication is to check the temperature gauge on your dashboard. If it appears that it’s running hot, the first thing you should do is turn the heat on high so it can draw the heat away from the engine. Then find a safe place to pull over and shut the engine off. 

2. Know the right ratio of water to antifreeze in coolant: Engine coolant must have the proper mixture of water and antifreeze to keep operating temperatures below the boiling point. Antifreeze coolant contains petroleum that keeps the bearings in the water pump well lubricated. Rising coolant temperatures can also affect worn hoses, causing them to burst and damage the engine.

3. Have your cooling system checked and serviced: It’s always a good idea to make sure your car’s fluids are at proper levels before getting into the extreme temperatures of summer. If it has been longer than two years, consider getting a service to ensure that the system is able to cool your engine and your air conditioning is in working order.

4. Have your battery checked: Heat can take a toll on battery life. As your car’s battery gets more wear and tear, it’s more likely to break down in extreme temperatures. A good preventative measure would be to replace the battery (or at least get it tested) if it has been three or more years. Tire Discounters performs this service for free.

5. Keep a roadside safety kit in your vehicle: Proper tire changing equipment, jumper cables, a first aid kit, and bottled water are a few things you need to have ready in case of a breakdown.

6. Don’t forget your oil and air filters: Regular oil changes will help dissipate heat in the engine. Engines that are low on oil work harder and reduce overall efficiency. Clean air filters also play a role in efficiency; they help the engine breathe and restore gas mileage.