The summer heat can seriously take a toll on your vehicle and everyone riding inside it, especially in a state as hot as Florida. From causing engine failure to potentially suffocating children or pets, the dangers of a hot car are not to be taken lightly. Here are five car safety tips to get you and your vehicle through the summer heat.
The summer heat can cause both your motor vehicle’s battery and engine to overheat and malfunction if you are not careful.
To protect your battery from failing, check that it is securely mounted to prevent vibration—the combination of excessive heat and vibration can damage it. Battery fluid may evaporate in the heat which can lead to corrosion, so make sure you check on fluid levels regularly as well. If corrosive buildup is present, clean it off the battery terminals and cable clamps, and ensure the clamps are secured tightly so they don’t move while your vehicle is in motion.
Take care of your engine by making sure your engine’s cooling system is periodically flushed; also, check on coolant levels between flushings to ensure the liquid is filled to the proper levels. Never do this when the engine is hot, however—if you remove the radiator cap before your engine cools, scorching hot coolant can lead to serious burns.
Going for a drive with under-inflated tires can cause them to overheat, leading to a blowout. It is recommended that you check your tire pressure at least once a month. It is crucial that you fill your tires when necessary during the summer months, otherwise the burning hot roads can lead to breakage.
Sometimes parking your car in the sun is unavoidable—when this happens, take the time to put up a sun visor to keep your car cool. Otherwise, you or your passengers (particularly young children) may burn yourselves on the car’s hot interior when you get back in.
While driving in the heat, using your a/c will do a lot more than keep you comfortable. Having the air conditioner running can prevent driver fatigue, which is a much higher risk when it is hot out. Drowsy driving is a serious health issue according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so if your vehicle’s air conditioning system isn’t working, we suggest getting it repaired as soon as possible.
While this should be common knowledge by now, it bears repeating. Most people don’t realize how quickly a car’s interior can overheat, and how helpless young children and pets are to escape. Within ten minutes or less, the inside of a closed vehicle can reach up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit—even if the outdoor temperature is as low as the mid-60s. Leaving the windows a little bit open has no effect on reducing deadly interior temperatures.
Even if you think you only have to leave your child or pet unattended for a minute don’t do it. You never know what circumstances might occur that result in you not being able to return to your vehicle until later than you planned.
Even if your car is well maintained and full of gasoline, a breakdown can occur without warning. Motorists are encouraged to keep an emergency kit in their car at all times.
A good summer-appropriate emergency kit includes:
We hope these tips will help you and your vehicle stay cool this summer.