Rare 'Engine Melt' Demonstration Kicks Off First Week of Summer

AAA: Thousands of Overheats Already in 2010

Jun 28, 2010, 13:54 ET from Prestone

DALLAS, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- This week marks the beginning of summer, and with weekend temperatures in the 90s and above throughout most of the country, Prestone – the nation's leading manufacturer of antifreeze/coolant – wants consumers to know the impact of extreme heat on their engine through a rare demonstration.

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Led by highly trained professionals and a staff of national experts, the Prestone® team melted down an entire 4.6-liter GM V8 engine inside a controlled environment inside a building in downtown Dallas.

"We're in no way saying car owners' engines will melt in extreme heat," said Sam Martin, product manager at Prestone, "but the temperatures inside a running engine can reach several thousand degrees. We are simply trying to illustrate that this extreme heat can damage your engine if it's not protected." He added: "If car owners regularly maintain essential fluids according to their car manufacturer's recommendation, they can extend the life of their car and prevent overheating. It's that easy."

AAA-Texas concurs. "Last year, AAA-Texas handled more than 8,000 towing calls where the tow truck driver reported the vehicle had problems with its heating and cooling system and had to be towed in for repairs," said AAA Texas Corporate Communications Manager Dan Ronan. "Through the end of May 2010, there have already been more than 4,100 tows."

While most typical engines core temperatures never reach the melting point, the impact of extreme heat can lead to costly repairs if vital engine fluids are not maintained. Issues associated with blown head gaskets and houses, burned pistons and melted spark plugs, as well as damaged valves all stem from overheated engines.

Vehicle cooling systems are designed to absorb and dissipate heat by constantly circulating coolant throughout the engine cooling system. This helps to keep the engine running within the optimal temperature range of 200 – 245 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures exceed that level, the engine runs the risk of overheating and potentially doing damage that is beyond reasonable repair.

"The key to having a cooling and heating system that runs smoothly from season to season is finding a balance between what services require a mechanic versus maintenance you can do at home in your own garage, and keeping to a maintenance schedule," added Martin.

Prestone recommends that motorists take the following steps to prevent highway breakdowns and keep their cars running smoothly all year long:

  1. Stay on top of regular maintenance.  Many of these check-ups will identify problems such as coolant/antifreeze leaks, low level in expansion tank, broken cooling fans, faulty thermostats and radiator malfunctions before they can do serious damage.

  1. Flush the system. Trouble usually begins with motorists who aren't familiar with the importance of flushing their system. This type of maintenance is extremely important, and the longevity of the engine and vehicle in general depends on the ability of cooling system provide adequate boiling, freezing and corrosion protection.

  1. Don't forget to top-off. Topping-off coolant in your vehicle is one of the easiest ways to prevent serious damage. A $10 bottle of good quality/reputable coolant can often be the difference between a smooth running engine and unnecessary costly repairs.

  1. Watch for warning lights. Whether the dead heat of the summer or the middle of winter, be sure to keep an eye on any warning lights. These indicators will often provide drivers with enough time to safely maneuver their car to a safe spot out of the way of traffic.

Headquartered in Danbury, CT, Prestone is a unit of Honeywell Consumer Products Group, which manufactures and markets Prestone® Antifreeze/Coolant and Car Care products; FRAM® Oil, Air, Transmission and Fuel Filters; Autolite® Spark Plugs and Ignition Wire Sets; and Holts® Car care products. For over 80 years, the Prestone® name has provided customers the highest quality products, including the leading brand of antifreeze/coolant. Prestone® antifreeze has protected cooling systems through seven decades of evolving engine operations and cooling system demands. As a result, Prestone® has become the best-selling antifreeze in North America.

SOURCE Prestone