Heat Safety Tips
As summer heat cannot be avoided, it is important that you and your family are prepared ahead of time. Here are some helpful tips on what you can do to best prepare yourself and your vehicle for high heat driving conditions:
- Batteries more than two years old should be tested by a qualified technician to ensure they have the starting power to handle the stress of extreme temperatures.
- Motor oil plays an important role in keeping the engine cool, so check your vehicle’s oil level and condition. If you’re driving under extreme conditions, such as over mountains or towing a heavy trailer, switch to motor oil with higher viscosity (check the owner’s manual for specific oil recommendations).
- Check air conditioning system performance. If needed, have it serviced by a qualified technician. Do not use non-approved substitute refrigerants. Check the owner’s manual for approved types.
- Inspect antifreeze/coolant level and condition. Ensure the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present.
- If your car overheats, never attempt to remove the radiator cap until the engine has cooled. Coolant in the radiator is under pressure and can flash into steam, causing severe burns.
- Other under-the-hood components such as belts and hoses are also stressed by extreme heat and should be regularly inspected. Be sure the vehicle engine is turned off before inspecting these items.
While you can’t control high heat, you do have some power to help protect you, your family, and your vehicle. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach dangerous levels. Be sure to take the following precautions when you leave your car in the heat:
- Never leave children or animals unattended in a car, not even for a short period of time. Outside air temperatures in the nineties can rise to 125 degrees inside the vehicle very quickly and can cause brain damage or death.
- When parked, use a sun shield to cover the windshield to minimize heat buildup and to help protect the car’s interior. Cover metal and plastic parts on seat belts and child safety seats to prevent burns.
- Open the vehicle’s doors and let the interior cool for a few minutes before entering.
- Remember to remove electronics such as cell phones, iPods, etc. from your vehicle, as the high heat can drain the batteries and possibly damage internal components.