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 |  Jul 14 2011, 9:31 PM

Don’t you just hate when you open your car door during a scorcher and a blast of hot air smacks you upside your head?  Then, you have to endure sticky car seats and a toasty steering wheel until the air conditioner finally starts to cool things down.

If this doesn’t sound all that appealing to you, you’ll be happy to know there are few things you can do to keep your car cool this summer.

  1. Park in the shade. These spots are at a premium during the summer and a bird may mistake your car for a bathroom, but it’s worth it – your car will be a lot cooler. If there’s no shade to be found, park with the sun beating down into the rear window rather than the front (this keeps the front seats and steering wheel from getting hot).
  2. Get a sunshade. They aren’t the most attractive car accessories, but suck it up and get yourself one. Sunshades keep harmful rays out of your vehicle and keep the temperature down inside the car. Another perk they offer is the cool your car faster so you don’t have to keep the air conditioner cranked high for as long.
  3. Use window shades. They are not just to keep the sun out of your child’s eyes. Pick them up at a baby stores. They can be put up or down or taken off and they help to keep the sun’s rays from beating down and heating up your car.
  4. Avoid hot leather. You may like the way leather looks in your car, but once the sun starts heating it up, things sure can get sticky. Use a towel or a cloth seat cover for the summer months.
  5. Hot buckles. We’ve all experienced the surprise of a hot buckle on our skin. They sure heat up fast! Be extra careful when handling them and try not to loosen car seat straps in the summer heat.
  6. Stay hydrated. You never know if you’re going to get stuck somewhere, so keep extra water bottles and ice on hand to keep you hydrated.
  7. Bring extra items inside. Things like toys, CD and gadgets are all affected by the heat, so keep them in the trunk or bring them inside with you once you park the car.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

 |  Jun 24 2011, 1:18 PM

Woo hoo! Summer is finally here! It’s time to throw off the shackles of work and school, and get out there for some fun and sun. But before you hit the road to take that much-needed summer vacation, it’s a good idea to keep some driving safety tips in mind so you and your loved ones stay safe.

By remembering a few simple tips, you can make this summer on the road the best one yet. Here’s a check list to keep you safe:

1. First thing you should do when you get into a car is to buckle up. They will keep you strapped to your seat in case of a crash. And the numbers prove it – in 2008, they saved the lives of 13,000 people.

2.  Make sure the kids are secure, as car crashes are the leading cause of death for kids between 3 and 12 years old. Place children aged 12 and under in the back seat, and check that child seats are installed correctly

3. Slow down. The cottage isn’t going anywhere, so keep to the posted speed limits. A heavy foot behind the wheel is a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes, killing nearly 900 Americans every month.

4. Pay attention and keep your eyes on the road. Put the cell phones down and focus on the road – in 2009, over 5,400 people were killed due to distracted driving and 448,000 were injured.

5.  Stay on top of maintenance. Before making the road trip, check your tire pressure and tread wear, fluids, and batteries. This is good advice at any time of the year, as you can catch serious problems before they happen.

6. Don’t drink and drive. We know, we’ve said this before, but in the summer, sometimes you lose track of the number of alcoholic beverages you’ve drank while on the patio or at a BBQ. So many lives can be saved if you designate a driver or take a cab.

7. Check your blind spot. Every car has one, so check your mirrors and look over your shoulder when you back up. With the kids out of school and playing outside, this is the time of year to be extra diligent.

8. Tell other motorists where you’re going by using your signals. This alerts other drivers and cyclists what your intentions are, and helps prevent mixed signals.

It’s sobering to think that in 2010, over 33,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents and many of them were preventable. Let’s all work together to bring that number down, and you can do your part by following the easy steps above.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

 |  Jun 17 2011, 1:42 PM

Do you get a little hot under the collar when your car overheats? Well, it is the season – hot temperatures, long traffic jams on the way to the cottage, air conditioners cranked up. But all these things put extra pressure on your car, which can lead to overheating. How can you and your car keep cool?

The signs of a car overheating are fairly obvious – you’ll see the temperature gauge rising, a temperature warning light flashing, or steam billowing out from under the hood. There are a few things you can do to keep your cool and avoid costly repairs on your vehicle.

•             We know it’s hot, but turn off your car’s air conditioner.

•             To drain heat from the engine, turn on the heater full blast.

•             Pull over (into the shade if possible) and turn off the car.

•             Raise the hood to cool off the engine – but don’t do this you see steam coming out under it.

•             After 30 minutes, check to see if your coolant level is normal and add if needed. If you add water or coolant, see if any leaks on the ground as you pour it.

•             For interior leaks, see if there’s any wetness on the carpet.

•             Call for roadside assistance.

[Source: Consumer Reports]