Too Hot to Handle

It seems there are at least 2 to 3 posts a day about a car that overheats for whatever reason and the driver kept driving the car resulting in severe engine damage. The question is how to avoid this circumstance?

Should mfg’ers put an auditory alarm that sounds when the car is overheating? I believe a number of outboard motors have had this feature for years. Should the temp guage start flashing to draw attention to the temp.?

There are stickers all over every new car with warnings about airbags. Perhaps there needs to be a statement on the driver’s visor that driving the car with the temp gauage on “H” causes severe damage, shut the car off and call for a tow. Putting the warning in the owner’s manual as they do now, is not working. The manuals sit unread as cars die from overheating.

Driver education is definately needed. Many drivers have no clue about how a car works, so what kind of action(s) are needed to help even clueless driver’s from killing their motors.

I usually agree with you, Uncle Turbo, but not on this one.

I am an extremely vocal advocate of personal responsibility, and–IMHO–a widespread lack of personal responsibility is one of the things that is wrong with our country today. (And, lest you think that I am someone whom I am not, I am not one of the “birthers” and I am aware that none of the proposed pieces of federal healthcare legislation contains a provision for “Death Panels”.)

There is a limit to how much hand-holding the government should advocate. If a manufacturer wants to include this type of auditory warning about overheating, or low oil pressure, or any other emergent situation, then more power to them. I just don’t believe that this should be mandated.

And, if this was mandated, I can see/hear the possible exchange between a service manager and a customer:
Q–"Ma’am–why didn’t you stop your engine when the auditory overheating warning sounded?
A–It wasn’t loud enough. If you really want people to hear that warning sound, it has to be louder than my 440 Watt sound system. Also, I was talking on the cell phone at at that time. I don’t think that I heard an auditory warning.

The bottom line–as a popular comedian says–“You can’t fix stupid”.
If people refuse to read their Owner’s Manual, and if they fail to look at and react to the gauges and warning lights on their dashboards, no amount of federal legislation will make them more responsible.

I’m not advocating anything, certainly not a government mandated program. This isn’t a safety issue. Some mfg’s are putting in oil level guages, others are putting in oil change monitors. These are initiatives of the mfg’ers. That is more what I’m looking at. There is more than enough on the governments plate right now. Let’s keep the government out of this one.

Interesting thought, but I tend to agree with VDC. Overheating is not the only scenario and people manage to get in trouble one way or another. The gauges are there for the driver to use. If they don’t want to pay attention, then they will end up paying more. The temp gauge is not really a new gadget, so if any driver is not familiar with how it works, they will have to learn.
I think one thing that could be done is teach drivers some basic car maintenance concepts as part of the required DMV stuff and test them on it before giving them a drivers license. Safe operation of a car is not only conducive to the individual’s safety, but also protects the public.

My cars (Lincolns) have built-in protection against overheating. If the engine starts to overheat, it goes into a reduced power mode failsafe cooling (with warning chimes sounding). If it still gets too hot, then there is another warning and the engine shuts down. No, I haven’t tried this feature, but that’s what the manual says would happen. I would still stop when the temperature gauge starting rising, before it made it to failsafe mode.

On one of my friends’ old Cadillacs, there was a separate idiot light that said “Pull Over, Stop Engine”, which I presume would come on when the oil or temp lights did. That always seemed like a pretty good idea to me and it shouldn’t really add that much cost.

Agree; cars have adequate warning lights and gages to indicate overheating. Carelessness is not limited to untrained people; I worked with a Heat Transfer Engineer some years back who overheated and ruined the engine in his Mercedes. This car had also a good temperature gage!

Another expert, with a Doctorate in mechanical engineering similarly wrecked his Mercedes engine and to this date claims he does not know what happened. In his case, I believe he may have run out of oil as well, since he never checked his fluids.