Take care of your car in extreme heat

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LANSING, MI (WILX) - Your ride may not be on your mind when it comes to things to take care of in extreme heat...so AAA of Michigan wants to give you some suggestions on how to prepare your car for heat indexes in the 100s.

Police say that the child was in a hot car for around five hours while their parent was working. (Photo: Pixabay)

First, "excessive heat poses a great risk to motorists," AAA said in a press release.

That's because the inside of a car can get dangerously hot.

Heatstroke deaths are at a high risk with these extreme temperatures. They said that from 1998 to 2018, 795 children have died from heatstroke in hot cars according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

And despite warnings from safety organizations each year children continue to die from being left in a hot car.

"“People often think that something like this could never happen to them,” said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “However, many heatstroke deaths are accidents, where a parent or caregiver forgets the child is in the back seat.”

The Auto Club Group suggest the following safety tips to help keep children safe:
1. Don’t Leave Them Alone, Not Even for a Minute - Never leave children unattended in a vehicle - even if the windows are open or the air conditioning is running.
2. Vehicles Aren’t Play Areas - Don’t let children play in an unattended vehicle.
3. Put Keys Out of Sight - Always lock your vehicle – even in driveways and garages - and keep keys out of children's reach.
4. Make it a Habit – Before locking your vehicle, check the front and back seat.
5. Keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat. When the child is with you, move it to the front seat as a reminder that your child is in the back.
6. Set an Alarm – Consider programming an alarm on your phone that will go off to remind you to check your vehicle.
7. Caregiver Assistance - If you normally drop your child off at a babysitter or daycare, ask the caregiver to call you if your child doesn’t show up as expected.
8. Add a Reminder- Put your purse/wallet or cell phone in the back seat. This way you are reminded to look in the back seat before leaving the vehicle.
9. Call for Help - If you see a child or pet alone in the car, call 911 immediately and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.

Those hot temps are also extremely dangerous to pets in cars. ". Even on pleasant days the temperature inside a car can soar to well over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, placing your pet at risk for heatstroke and possibly death."

And your car itself can experience strain in hot temperatures.

Experts say to check your cooling system and if a warning light comes on you should not ignore it.

Gary Drago of Drago's Corvettes on Dort Highway said, "The biggest mistake people make is they think - 'I can just get to the next exit on the express way,' or 'I can get to the next ... whatever.' Well, that little bit of time makes the difference between the life and death of an automobile."

AAA has specific tips for your battery, engine, tires, and more.

1. Battery
• Securely mount the battery in place to minimize vibration.
• Clean any corrosive build up from the battery terminals and cable clamps.
• Ensure the clamps are tight enough that they will not move.
• If a car’s battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last.

2. Engine Coolant
• Have the system flushed and the coolant replaced periodically as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
• Consult the owner’s manual to determine the service interval appropriate for a vehicle.
• Inspect hoses and drive belts for cracking, soft spots or other signs of poor condition.
• Replace worn parts.
3. Tires
• Check tires when the car has not been driven recently.
• Inflate tires to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—not the number molded into the tire sidewall.
• Inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.
4. Engine Fluids
• Check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels.
• If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.
5. Air Conditioning
• Maintain a comfortable driving environment to reduce fatigue and increase driver alertness for increased vehicle safety.
• Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.

They added that even properly maintained cars can still breakdown in the summer.

AAA suggests that every driver have a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle.

And the kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit.

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High temps can be deadly to pets. (Source CAHS)
"Excessive heat poses a great risk to motorists," AAA said in a press release. (Source AAA)