Summer is here and the sun is in full flare. With the recent heat spikes, it’s important to keep yourself, your family (pets included), and even your car safe. The following tips will help you avoid suffering through this heat, as well as keep everyone safe.

In under 10 minutes, the interior of your car can rise 20 degrees. Consider this when you leave a pet or child in your car while you run into the bank or food store. And if you think leaving the windows cracked or rolling them down does the trick, you’d be wrong. Neither has an effect on the heat acceleration of your car.

In fact, a dog’s body is made to conserve heat and a child’s body heats 3-5 times quicker than an adult. Save a life (and your body) by leaving the car running with the AC on or utilizing a drive-through.

One of the easiest ways to alleviate some of the heat in a car is to just park in the shade. While it may be a few extra steps to the building, it means you won’t be suffering on the ride home in the heat.

Block off the sun as much as possible with a sunshade. In New Jersey, you’re legally allowed to tint the backside and rear windows dark, though if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, stick with a simple sunshade solution! According to Car Bibles, the best windshield sunshade is the EcoNour Car Windshield Sunshade. Check it out on Amazon here.

Aside from frequent oil changes, there are ways to help your car prepare for high temperatures. Summer can have a higher negative impact on your car’s battery than winter. Heat could mean quicker evaporation of battery fluid, which leads to corrosion. So clean up any buildup and ensure the clamps are tight enough that they won’t move while driving. Cooling systems protect engines from overheating, so make sure the coolant is filled properly.

Speaking of fluids, make sure engine fluids are at appropriate levels. When their levels are low, the cooling effect is reduced, which increases your odds of overheating. This includes motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, etc.

Finally, ensure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflation could cause tires to overheat and blowout. Check your tires at least once a month, when the tire is cool.

Let’s be honest, the last thing you want is to get home after a long day running errands to find your ice cream is now liquid. Here are some tips dealing with food in the summer:

  • Get a cooler bag for frozen items or use a full-size cooler with freezer packs for your trip home from the food store
  • If you snack in the car, make sure it is nonperishable!
  • For road trips, avoid carbonated beverages that may explode.
  • Freeze bottles of water or drinks for a day trip (this works great if you bring a cooler along)
  • Any food left outside for more than an hour should be thrown out.

No matter how much you prepare, a breakdown can still happen. Make an emergency kit to keep in the car that includes:

  • Water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Road flares
  • Basic hand tools
  • First aid kit

If you like to be prepared for anything, here’s a list of additional items to keep in your car:

  • Steering wheel cover (cloth not leather)
  • Insulated shopping bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Tweezers
  • Paper towels
  • Blanket (you may not need it in the summer, but it’s good to have)

In a matter of minutes, the temperature can rise to unbearable heat. Ensure that you’re taking the necessary steps to keep yourself and your family safe this summer. There’s nothing cooler than being safe!