Tips to keep your car running smoothly and your kids safe as the heat wave hits Michigan

The recent weather forecast says that it is hot and will continue to be hot. AAA: The Auto Club Group offers safety tips to help motorists keep their children, pets and vehicles safe during the hottest days of the year.

I recently wrote an article on Leaving Kids in Hot Cars: Important Reminder on Kids in Hot Cars After the Tragedy in Virginia, where I discussed the science behind hot cars, statistics on pediatric deaths in hot cars, as well as recent death stories. in hot cars.

Here are the prevention and safety tips I found while researching that story:

  • Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:

    • Placing the child’s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you

    • Get in the habit of opening the back door every time you park to make sure no one gets left behind. Try putting an item you can’t start your day without in the backseat, like a laptop or cell phone, to reinforce the habit.

    • Ask your child care provider to call right away if your child has not arrived as scheduled.

    • Use self-service services when available.

  • Make sure your children are safe around parked cars by:

    • Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors to do the same.

    • Use childproof doorknob covers and door alarms to prevent children from leaving your home unnoticed.

    • Teach children to honk the horn or turn on the hazard lights if they get stuck in the car.

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

These tips for keeping your children safe can also be applied to your pets, as these extreme temperatures can also put them at risk.

How to help your vehicle survive higher temperatures

Not only are children and pets at risk, but your vehicle can also be affected by this weather. AAA put together this guide to help your vehicle safely survive higher temperatures:

1. Battery

  • Mount the battery securely in place to minimize vibration.

  • Clean any corrosive buildup from the battery terminals and cable clamps.

  • Make sure the clamps are tight enough so they don’t move.

  • If a car 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. The test can be performed at any AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, or AAA members may request a AAA mobile battery service technician come to them and test your battery for free. If the battery needs to be replaced, the technician can usually replace it on site. For more information on AAA mobile battery service, visit

2. Engine coolant

  • Flush the system and replace the coolant periodically as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

  • Check your owner’s manual to determine the proper service interval for a vehicle.

  • Inspect hoses and drive belts for cracks, soft spots, or other signs of poor condition.

  • Replace worn parts.

3. Tires

  • Check the tires when the car has not been driven recently.

  • Inflate tires to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, not to the number molded into the sidewall of the tire.

  • Inspect tire treads for proper tread depth and any signs of uneven wear that may indicate a suspension or alignment problem.

4. Engine fluids

  • Check all fluids in the vehicle, including engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid to make sure they are filled to the proper levels.

  • If fluid needs to be refilled, 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 to increase vehicle safety.

  • Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.

Be Prepared for Summer Breakdowns

Even with proper preventative maintenance, breakdowns can still happen in the summer.

AAA recommends that every driver have a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle. The kit should include water, non-perishable food, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit.


For more information on driver safety or to find safety resources, you can visit the AAA website here.

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