Is Your Car Safe And Ready For A Hot Summer?

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As temperatures increase, it’s critical to protect children and pets from hot car deaths. On a typical 80-degree summer day, the interior temperature of a vehicle increases by 20 degrees in only 10 minutes and can reach a deadly 109 degrees in 20 minutes. On hotter days, the interior temperature can easily reach 120 to 140 degrees, and cracking the windows has little effect.

As temperatures increase, it’s critical to protect children and pets from hot car deaths. (Christy Hinko)

To prevent hot car deaths, AAA Northeast recommends caregivers practice the following:

· Stop and look at the backseat before exiting a parked vehicle. Make it a habit to check the entire vehicle before locking the doors and walking away. Place personal items, like a purse or briefcase, in the back seat as another reminder to look before you lock. Ask child care providers to immediately call if your child doesn’t show up for care as expected.

· Lock your vehicle to prevent unsupervised access and a child getting trapped inside. Keep car keys away from children and teach them that the inside of a car should never be used as a play area.

· Act fast, call 911 and take action if you see a child alone in a locked car. A child in distress should be removed as quickly as possible.

· Summer heat is rough on vehicles due to high temperatures and stop-and-go traffic. The wear and tear on batteries, tires and vehicle components can cause problems that might not be immediately obvious but will be revealed at some point. And the worst time to find out about those problems might just be halfway through a summer road trip.

“Neglecting routine maintenance can leave you broken down on the side of the road, and there’s nothing worse when it happens during a road trip far from home,” said Alec Slatky, managing director of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast. “To avoid spending your vacation at a repair shop, some proactive maintenance can go a long way.”

(Getty Images)

AAA offers the following tips to get your vehicle ready for summer road trips:

Open the hood and check your fluids: Engine oil, coolant, steering fluid, brake fluid and transmission fluid should all be checked and filled by a skilled technician, if necessary. Do not skip scheduled maintenance or oil changes as recommended by the manufacturer.

Rotate your tires and get them replaced if necessary: Rotating tires can extend their life since front and rear tires often wear differently. To determine if your tires need to be replaced, put an upside-down quarter into the tread. If George Washington’s head is above the tread line, the tires are worn and should be replaced.

Check your battery: The average lifespan for a modern car battery is four to six years. Batteries wear out more in the summer heat than any other time of year. AAA offers members mobile battery service, which that can show how much life is left in your battery and replace it, if necessary. Checking the battery includes inspecting the terminals for corrosion and loose or damaged connections.

See and breathe easier with new filters and blades: Summer is the perfect time to replace consumable items like air filters and wiper blades. A new engine air filter will ensure your car runs as efficiently as possible. A new cabin air filter will prevent unpleasant, musty odors and help you and your passengers breathe easier. Wiper blades should be replaced at the first signs of wear, such as streaking or chattering and groaning noises.

Focus on safety: Have your car’s safety equipment inspected and repaired, if needed. Brakes and brake lines should be at the top of the list, followed by headlights and safety systems.

Hot weather also impacts electric vehicles. EV range can decrease in hot weather, so making a charging plan for road trips is especially important. Although EVs don’t overheat the same way other vehicles can, the battery thermal management system can fail, causing the high-voltage battery to overheat. Keep an eye on warning gauges and if your EV has a battery cooling system, ensure that it is serviced on a regular schedule.

AAA Northeast is a nonprofit auto club with offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than 6.5 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.

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