When you want to diagnose an issue with your vehicle and you’re finding it hard to figure out what’s causing it, you can get a little stumped. Whether it’s a faulty part, a misalignment creating timing issues, or an overheating component, it’s anyone’s guess. Yet, by using an automotive infrared thermometer, it’s possible to get to the heart of the car’s difficulty in no time.
Here are a few ways in which this type of tool can be utilized well when working on your vehicle.
Coolant is Too Hot
When the coolant that runs through the radiator and keeps it at a low enough temperature starts to heat up, it can cause the radiator to malfunction and the engine to lose its cooling. Run like that for too long and you’re likely to have more serious problems to deal with. At that point, you’ll wish that you found the root cause sooner.
Checking the Radiator Coolant Temperature
Bear in mind that the temperature will vary depending on where you measure it with an automotive infrared thermometer. To get more accurate readings, look for a small mass such as where the radiator hose connects at the top. This way, you’ll see clearly if it is running at too high of a temperature than you’d expect to see. It’s certainly more accurate and far safer than trying to tell by touch alone.
Figure Out if There’s a Radiator Blockage
Finding a potential blockage within the radiator itself is not so easy to do. The heat moves across the radiator panel fairly consistently using conduction.
To do this, get a maximum flow for the coolant through the system, and then turn off the system. Once down, immediately check for various places where a blockage may have occurred. Work fast to look for cooler spots because they heat up quickly and become impossible to locate. To find the best infrared thermometers, go to WeatherStationAdvisor.
Engine Performance Difficulties
Diagnosing engine performance difficulties can be troublesome. Often, it’s a case of listening to the sound of the problem and trying to figure it out by ear. This is because, otherwise, it becomes a game of guesswork, where taking apart the engine and looking for broken parts or indications of another difficulty is the next step. And that can be painstaking work.
Using an infrared thermometer, it’s possible to search for hot spots with the engine where it’s hotter than it should be under normal conditions. Whether that’s with the engine functionality or down at the exhaust manifold area, it can spot something that doesn’t look right even if it isn’t making unusual sounds. Even the pulley and belt can be verified that it’s not overheating and causing fresh problems. The use of the thermometer to take a reading avoids getting the fingers lightly singed when feeling around a hot engine for problems.
Looking at the Brake Systems
Brake systems aren’t easy to review when they’re hot to the touch. When there’s a set of brake pads and only one is playing up, spotting that isn’t necessarily a cakewalk either. Using a digital thermometer that can test the temperature on each wheel can confirm when there’s a single issue with one wheel for the braking system if it relates to the front or rear, or whether all four wheels are affected.
Whether it’s excess heat being created by discs that are misaligned, brake pads that are worn out, or some other cause, taking a temperature reading provides clues about where to look more closely. Similarly, because heat is used in braking systems to create friction when a wheel isn’t hot at all, this also tells a tale.
Defrosting a Vehicle Before Heading Out
In colder climates, when a vehicle becomes too cold, you may discover that the engine won’t start. Adding warm water and defrosting parts of the car to raise the temperature can do a lot to encourage the motor to start up. While anti-freeze will certainly help to reduce the instance of a car’s systems freezing up, being able to verify the temperature of the engine when it finally starts turning over confirms if the worst is over and it’s safe to head out.
Owning an automotive infrared thermometer provides considerable flexibility for how and where it’s used to keep your vehicle running. It can save extra time when beginning the troubleshooting phase due to an ongoing car problem that you cannot get your head around. It can also be something to utilize when you first find an automotive problem and want to rule out possible culprits.
By being able to definitely say what is not causing a breakdown, it becomes a process of elimination to discover the real cause. That process can be sped up by using temperature readings to confirm your suspicions and may well save you an expensive trip to the garage too.