Tag: summer

Safety Tips for Grilling Season

People have been cooking meals over open flames since the discovery of fire. Even today, when there are so many ways to cook a meal, many still insist there’s nothing better than the taste of food cooked on the grill.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, which tracks industry trends, points out that one-third of consumers plan to use their grill or smoker more often this year. Even though grilling is widely associated with summer, a growing number of people are embracing year-round grilling. HPBA’s CEO Jack Goldman has said, “Barbecuing is no longer just a pastime, but an integral part of the North American lifestyle.”

Seven in 10 adults in the United States and eight out of 10 in Canada own a grill or smoker. With so many people firing up their grills, it’s important to recognize the importance of grilling safety. Each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns, advises the National Fire Protection Association. Here’s how to stay safe.

• Only grill outside. Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors. Grills should be placed well away from the home. Keep grills away from deck railings, eaves, overhangs, and tree branches.

• Keep the grill clean. Thoroughly clean the grill prior to first use, and keep it tidy all year long. Grease or fat buildup can ignite and cause a fire.

• Always attend the grill. Grill distraction-free and keep an eye on the food being cooked. Simply stepping away for a few moments can lead to a fire or accident. • Start fires safely. Charcoal grills and gas grills may be lit using electronic starters that do not require fire. If using starter fluid, only do so on charcoal, and do not add more fluid or other flammable liquids after the fire has ignited.

• Check for gas leaks. Whether the gas grill is hooked up to a propane tank or the natural gas supply of a home, ensure that the hoses or tanks are not leaking. Apply a light soap-and-water solution to hoses to see if they bubble from leaking gas.

• Keep baking soda nearby. Baking soda can control grease fires, but it’s also helpful to have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand on hand for other types of fires.

• Watch children and pets. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from grilling areas.

• Wait for the grill and coals to cool. Practice safety around the grill until all coals are cool and the grill is no longer hot to the touch. Only then should the grill be moved or relocated.

Grilling is a passion that is enjoyed throughout much of the year. Safely cook outdoors by heeding safety guidelines.

Create an Inviting Outdoor Living Environment

Be ready to enjoy the warm days of spring and summer with an “updated” outdoor dining/living/garden area that is welcoming and efficient. Woodcraft has the tools and supplies you will need, along with helpful advice at your local store and free how-to articles on Woodcraft.com.

Projects

Take stock of your outdoor furniture — do you need more? Would colorful new Adirondack chairs, a new picnic table and maybe a garden bench and planters be more inviting? Or perhaps a cleanup and new paint would bring your existing furniture to life for another season? Does your porch/patio/deck area need to be resurfaced or enlarged? Streamline your dining by building mobile carts to transport food for prep and for serving. Add a butcher block top to the food prep cart and storage drawers to both, and improve the efficiency and pleasure of your dining experience. Gardeners may want to build a potting bench and wooden flatbed wagon to haul plants and supplies.

Tools, Supplies and How-Tos

“Make anywhere your workspace with the Kreg Mobile Project Center,” Woodcraft senior product manager Peter Collins said. “It’s a portable workbench, sawhorse, assembly table, and clamping station all in one that provides a versatile work space for DIY, repair, and woodworking projects.” The large 273⁄4″ x 311⁄2″ polypropylene work surface supports a 350-lb. load capacity, and two centers can be connected to double the work area. Collins also suggested adding the new Kreg In-line Bench Clamp and Bench Clamp System for Dog Holes to make almost every clamping task possible. Visit Woodcraft.com to see Building Plans for Outdoor Furniture, as well as Adirondack chair templates.

Woodcraft.com also offers a large number of how-to articles such as “Laid Back in a Classic Adirondack” that shows how to build with Adirondack chair templates, while “WoodSense: Spotlight on Outdoor Projects,” describes woods that work well outdoors. For building projects, the Freeman 11⁄4″ 18-Gauge Brad Nailer is a professional quality, innovative home improvement tool that is great for furniture. Its oil-free operation requires no regular maintenance and eliminates the risk of stains on project surfaces.

If your joinery choice requires screws, the Groz Insta Drive Screwdriver features a patented retractable, rotating bit cartridge that makes it easy to find, store and change driver bits. For hauling lumber or other large items to your project site, use the Xstrap Heavy Duty Ratchet Tie Down to hold up to 1,000 pounds in place on a truck bed. To finish new furniture or recolor existing pieces — and brighten your outdoor landscape — choose one of the 28 premixed General Finishes Milk Paint colors that can be mixed, lightened, glazed, layered, antiqued, or distressed.

Other good choices for outdoor surfaces include General Finishes Outdoor Oil Finish (use over exterior oil stain or exterior clear oil finishes for additional protection) and General Finishes 450 Varnish (minimizes fading, retards mold and fungus growth).

For painting guidance, watch “Hand Applied Milk Paint from General Finishes at Woodcraft” and read “Create a Milk Paint Masterpiece” on Woodcraft.com. HOMERIGHT’s Finish Max HVLP Sprayer will spray most solvent (except lacquer and conversion varnish) or water-based products — latex paint, milk paint, chalk paint, furniture paint, stains, and finishes. It’s easy to set up, use and clean. When painting furniture, consider using the HOMERIGHT Large Spray Shelter. When painting small accessories, opt for the Small Spray Shelter.

For furniture that needs some TLC, read “Restoring Outdoor Projects” on Woodcraft.com to learn how to determine what needs to be deep cleaned, repaired, rebuilt and repainted. Handy helpers for the TLC process include Blue Bear Paint and Urethane Stripper, Krud Kutter No-Rinse Prepaint Cleaner, Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue, SculpWood Putty, and Briwax ChaiRX.

Garden & Game Projects

Turn a unique transplanter, cultivator and weeder with the three-piece WoodRiver Garden Tool Turning Kit constructed of durable, cast aluminum. Turning blanks for the handle, sold separately, may be made from wood, acrylic or another man-made material. Build a wooden croquet set with help from “Picnic Perfect Croquet Set” in Issue 65 of Woodcraft Magazine. Subscribers can download the article free, or the issue can be purchased at Woodcraft.com.

To learn more about these and other products, visit your local Woodcraft store, call (800) 535-4482 or visit www.Woodcraft.com.

Be Aware Of Ticks When Enjoying The Outdoors

When the weather warms, yards beckon, hiking trails look even more inviting and even a patch of grass can be a welcoming respite. Lots of fun can be had outside, but caution is needed. While this time of year is prime for outdoor frolicking, it’s also a time when tick populations explode. Ticks are small crawling bugs in the arachnid (spider) family. There are hundreds of different kinds of ticks in the world. The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation says there are at least 40 species of tick in Canada alone. The creature subsists on meals of blood from a host animal. Ticks can carry bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that can cause serious disease in humans and other animals, states LymeDisease.org.

Ticks feed and mate mostly on deer, but rodents, birds, lizards, and just about any other animal can be a host to these nondiscriminatory bugs. Animals carry the diseases, which are then passed through the tick to others. Disease-spreading ticks can be extremely hard to detect because of their diminutive size, especially when they are in the larva or nymph stages. Therefore, preventing tick bites remains the single-best way to stay ahead of Lyme disease and other illnesses. Understanding tick habitats and behavior can make it easier to avoid them.

Where To Find Ticks

Ticks will congregate anywhere the animals they feed upon live. Primarily they are located in wooded and grassy areas. Adults will climb up on tall grass waiting for an animal to pass by so they can climb aboard. Nymphs and larvae will live in layers of decomposing leaves under trees. Moisture is a friend to ticks, which are less active in sunny, dry areas. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says removing leaf litter, clearing tall grasses and brush and mowing the lawn frequently can help.

5 Ways To Create Tick-safe Zones At Home

• Stack wood neatly in a dry area.

• Keep playground equipment and entertaining spaces away from trees and yard edges.

• Discourage unwanted animals with fencing.

• Prevent tick migration into yards with a three-foot-wide barrier of gravel between lawns and wooded areas.

• If desired, employ acaricides (tick pesticides) to reduce the number of ticks in your yard.

On the go when enjoying the great outdoors, avoid tall grasses and stay on trails. Wear tall socks or pants during hikes to prevent ticks from latching on. A thorough inspection of the body is advisable each time people return indoors. Check hidden areas, such as behind the knees, under the arms and in other skin-fold areas, for ticks. Tick populations grow as the weather warms. Ensure spring and summer fun is not dampened by tick-related illness.
 
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Guide to End-of-Summer Sales

The end of summer is marked by mixed feelings. Come the end of summer, vacations may be coming to an end as children ready themselves for a new school year. But shoppers know the end of summer is an ideal time to find great deals on an array of items.

Although back-to-school sales flood the marketplace this time of year, plenty of other sales take place in the final weeks of summer – and consumers can save substantial amounts of money if they know where to look.

Outdoor furniture

As stores clear out their seasonal items, shoppers can score big deals on patio sets and other outdoor furniture. Retailers need to make room for snowblowers, rakes, shovels, and holiday merchandise, so shoppers are bound to find discounted tables, chairs, fire pits, umbrellas, and chaise lounges. Individuals can use this opportunity to update worn-out patio furniture and other seasonal items they can store over the winter.

Camping/hiking equipment

Only the most devoted campers camp out when the temperatures begin to dip, so consumers can use this opportunity to grab camping equipment before it’s gone for another season. Tents, flashlights, cooking gear, backpacks, outdoor recreational items, such as kayaks or fishing tackle, water bladders, and heaters may be available at steep discounts.

Grills

Backyard barbecues are a staple of summer. If your barbecue or outdoor cooking equipment experienced heavy use throughout the summer, now is a great time to shop sales on grills and outdoor cooking gear.

Travel

Consumer Reports says that prices tend to drop on airfare, hotels and theme parks after Labor Day. Deals on luggage also can be had once summer travel season ends. Tuesdays are a great day to book airline tickets because they tend to be cheaper on Tuesday than other days of the week. Travelers can use this information to their advantage, booking trips to destinations that have super weather throughout the fall, such as Hawaii or the Mediterranean. Caribbean destinations also are good choices, though travelers should consider travel insurance to protect against hurricane-related cancellations.

Vehicles

Many dealerships tend to begin discounting cars when new models begin to debut in August and September. The longer a dealership holds on to a vehicle, the more money it tends to lose. Prospective car buyers may be able to negotiate a good deal this time of year, ultimately walking away with a brand new vehicle with a solid warranty. It’s not unheard of to receive a discount of 15 percent or more on previous year models.

Spa treatments

Many spas have begun discounting massages and facials at the end of summer, according to the International Spa Association. Shoppers can use this opportunity to try out new spas and save some money in the process.

In addition to these discounts, bathing suits, summer clothing, lawn and garden equipment, and pool/spa items may be discounted come the fall.

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How To Keep Kids Engaged Over Summer Break

Reading is a great way for students to keep their brains sharp during prolonged school breaks. Children in North America will spend, on average, more than 900 hours attending school in a given year. The average school year in the United States lasts 1,016 hours, the equivalent of 42 continuous days. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, many developed countries begin their academic years in September and end them in June. Some, like Australia, feature four terms with two-week breaks in between each term. Others go to school for most of the year – with various holiday breaks in between – and then get the bulk of their time off during the summer.

As much time as kids spend in school, there will be times when they are left to their own devices, and during these times it’s easy for them to forgot classroom lessons. Sometimes called “summer learning loss” or “summer slide,” this forgetfulness sees many students fail to retain all of their lessons over prolonged breaks from school. Studies indicate that students score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer compared to their performance on the same tests at the beginning of summer. Anywhere from between one to three month’s worth of educational achievement can dissipate during prolonged breaks from the classroom. To help ensure that those hard-earned lessons are not so easily forgotten, parents can help children remain intellectually engaged in various ways over school breaks.

Stick To A Schedule

Try to maintain a schedule similar to school, with children waking at the same time each day and going to bed at similar hours. This will make it much easier to get back into a routine when a new school year begins.

Encourage Reading

Set aside time for reading each day. All it generally takes is 15 to 30 minutes of reading per day for kids to remember their vocabulary lessons and maintain their fluency and comprehension skills. Children may enjoy picking their own books rather than having a required reading list.
Keep a math book handy

On long car trips or rainy days, children can do a few math problems to keep their skills sharp. This will help keep learning loss to a minimum. Math workbooks may be available at bookstores, or parents can look online or ask a teacher for a summer to-do packet.

Plan Educational Trips

Vacations and day trips can be fun, entertaining and educational all at the same time. Science centers, museums and living history locations can bring to life information learned in the classroom, even on family vacations.

Learn At Camp

Many children attend camp for a portion of their school breaks. Look for camps that do not simply babysit children, but engage them through enrichment activities.

Take A Class

Children and families can learn together by exploring new skills. Enroll in something educational and enjoyable, such as a music or dance class, a STEM seminar or something else that engages the mind and body. This gives everyone a chance to learn something new and have a great time together as a family.
Parents and educators can reduce lesson loss over school breaks by encouraging families to remain intellectually engaged in any way they can.
 
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How to Cool Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

Mother Nature is consistently inconsistent these days, when 30-degree Mondays might be followed by 60-degree Tuesdays. Fickle weather is often accompanied by large fluctuations in temperature, strong storms and unseasonable conditions, making it difficult for homeowners to maintain comfort levels in their homes.

As a result of fluctuating temperatures, home heating and cooling systems have been heavily taxed. Growing reliance on HVAC systems has also driven up energy bills, as moderate weather synonymous with spring has given way to more days of extreme heat or extreme cold. As summer approaches once again, reducing cooling costs is a priority for many homeowners. The following are a few ways to cool your home’s interior without causing a spike in your energy bill.

· Reduce sun exposure. Much of the hot air inside of a home can be attributed to sunlight exposure throughout the day. Walls and windows on the south and west sides of a home will bear the brunt of the sun’s rays, so close shades and drapes on this side of the house to maximize coolness. Shades and curtains can save you up to 7 percent on your bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. Homeowners also may want to think about installing a retractable awning on areas of the house that get a lot of sun. Planting shade trees is another way to naturally cool down hot sides of the house.

· Draw more air into the attic. Hot air rises, and in the summertime hot air can get trapped beneath the roof in the attic and eaves of a home. While an attic should have vents, homeowners can speed up the exchange of hot air with a simple trick. Open up a window on a shady side of the home, and then open the attic door or take out the access panel and place a box fan inside to blow air up into the attic. This will disperse the hot air and help force it out through the vents.

· Use fans productively. Using box fans to suck cool night air in from east- and north-facing windows and to push out hot air from west- and south-facing windows is another way to increase circulation through a home. Running fans may be less costly than turning on air conditioners. Also, set ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise. This will pull cooler air up from the floor and create a wind-chill effect.

· Switch to LED or CFL bulbs. Ninety percent of the energy used for incandescent bulbs is emitted as heat. This not only wastes electricity but also can make conditions hotter inside a home. Switch to cooler, more efficient light bulbs.

· Reduce humidity levels. Humidity makes hot temperatures feel even hotter. Clean laundry, take showers and run the dishwasher at night or early in the morning before the day heats up. Don’t forget to vent bathrooms and kitchens by turning on exhaust fans when water is in use.

· Rely on a programmable thermostat. Setting a thermostat to adjust the air conditioning system automatically means homeowners can keep the temperature raised when they’re not home and then have it lowered shortly before they arrive home. The thermostat also can adjust temperatures for day and night use.

· Keep doors closed. Do not cool rooms that are unused. Maximize the cool air in lived-in spaces by blocking off rooms that do not need to be cooler.

· Invest in more insulation. Insulation does not just keep homes warmer in the cold weather. Insulation also prevents hot air from infiltrating living spaces while keeping cooler air where it’s needed. Sealant around windows and doors also will prevent unnecessary air exchange.

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Keep Pets Cool, Comfortable & Safe During Hot Weather

Summer may be a time for vacations and recreational activities for human beings, but pets may not be privy to the same luxuries. Summer recreation may not always include our four-legged friends, as summer heat and other issues can pose a threat to companion animals. As a result, pet parents must make pet safety a priority when the weather heats up.

The Humane Society of the United States says that the summer months can be uncomfortable and dangerous for pets. Temperatures that may be tolerable for adults and children who are dressed accordingly may not be so for animals covered in fur. It’s vital to help pets stay comfortable and safe as summer temperatures heat up. Pet parents also must be aware of particular dangers that go hand-in-hand with summertime activities.

· Practice vehicle safety. It is never acceptable to leave pets in parked cars, even for a minute. Temperatures inside vehicles can rise quickly and considerably in a matter of minutes, even with the windows opened slightly. HSUS says on an 85-degree-day, temperatures inside parked cars can reach 102 F within 10 minutes. Pets can suffer irreversible and even fatal organ damage in that period of time. If you have to run errands, keep dogs and cats at home where they will be more comfortable.

· Stay off of hot asphalt. If you’ve ever walked on the hot sand or an asphalt driveway on a hot day, you understand just how scorching those surfaces can get. Dogs and cats do not have protective shoes to wear, so safeguard the delicate pads of their paws by keeping companion animals off of hot surfaces. Schedule walks in the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler.

· Schedule a pet grooming visit. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation suggests speaking with your veterinarian to see if it’s appropriate for your pet to get clipped shorter or to be shaved in the summer. But a fur coat can offer protection from the sun, so weigh the pros and cons before taking action. Apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin if he or she has a thin coat.

· Provide a way for pets to cool off. If you’re hot, chances are your pet is hot, too. Offer a means for pets too cool off, such as a wading pool when you are outside. Offer plenty of fresh water. Keep pets who do not enjoy the heat indoors with the air conditioner running on hot days.

· Look for indicators of heat stress. The American Veterinary Association says heat stress is marked by heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, or wobbly legs. Move pets exhibiting such symptoms to a cool place, drape a damp towel over the animal’s body, rewetting the cloth frequently, and get the animal to the vet as soon as you possibly can.

· Exercise caution in the water. Dogs can get swept away by rip currents just like human swimmers. If you will be boating, invest in a life jacket for your pooch and look for water hazards, such as currents, sink holes, and blue-green algae in lakes and ponds.

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Keep Cool in the Face of Summer Heat

The month of August is often referred to as “the dog days of summer,” a phrase that can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The “dog days” are a reference to the dog star, Sirius, which appeared to rise just before the sun in late July, when temperatures were at their hottest. As a result, the phrase “dog days” remains synonymous with summer heat in the Northern Hemisphere.

Keeping cool during the dog days of summer can be difficult, especially for people who live in humid climates. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States, with the National Vital Statistics System reporting a total of more than 7,400 deaths between 1999 and 2010. Many of those deaths could have been prevented had people taken steps to keep cool in the face of summer heat.

· Choose wisely when spending time outdoors. As hot as summer can be, many people still want to enjoy some time outdoors. You don’t have to spend summer indoors to survive the summer heat, but it helps to choose the time you spend outdoors wisely. Avoid spending time outdoors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Temperatures soar and peak during these hours, and the American Melanoma Foundation notes that UV radiation reaches its peak intensity at approximately 1 p.m. The more intense that UV radiation is, the more susceptible people are to UV-related sun damage to their skin. If you prefer to exercise outdoors during the summer, do so in the early morning or in the evening, when temperatures tend to be lower and UV radiation is less of a threat.

· Limit time spent outside. It’s okay to spend time outside in the summer, just make sure you are not outside for extended periods of time on hot days. Exposure to sustained heat can adversely affect the body’s ability to sweat. Sweat might be uncomfortable, but it helps to regulate body temperature by cooling the body. People who cannot sweat or suddenly stop perspiring can succumb to heat exhaustion or heat stroke very quickly. If you must spend time outdoors on hot days, take periodic breaks to go indoors, heading inside immediately if you realize your body is no longer producing sweat.

· Stay hydrated. Come the dog days of summer, keep a water bottle with you at all times, refilling it throughout the day as necessary. The American Heart Association notes that the heart can more easily pump blood through blood vessels to the muscles when it is hydrated. That means the heart isn’t working as hard as it would have to if you were not staying hydrated. Dehydration reduces the body’s ability to sweat and maintain a normal body temperature, so stay hydrated on hot days by drinking water throughout the day.

· Make cool dietary choices. When planning meals on hot days, choose light foods and opt for small portions so you aren’t fighting feelings of sluggishness that can compound any heat-related feelings of listlessness you’re already coping with. In addition, choose meals that don’t require you to turn on the oven. Hot ovens can make homes, even those with fully functioning air conditioning systems, far less comfortable on especially hot days.

The dog days of summer are often marked by humidity and blazing sun. Overcoming those factors may require altering certain habits.

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Safety In And Around The Pool

Beating the heat in a pool is one of the most popular warm-weather activities. Swimming attracts people of all ages because of its various benefits. In addition to being an enjoyable recreational activity, swimming also is a low-impact way to exercise. Having a backyard pool makes swimming and outdoor fun that much easier.

Although exact numbers are difficult to come by, various sources indicate there are approximately 4.5 million residential swimming pools across the United States. While it once was relatively rare to find a backyard swimming pool in Canada, things have changed — especially in Quebec. No other province comes close to matching Quebec for backyard pools, which has well over 300,000 backyard pools, more than Ontario (which has five million more people). Quebec also has more pools per capita than almost anywhere else in North America according to numbers compiled by Pool & Spa Marketing magazine.

Pools can be enjoyable places to gather and make for the focal points of yards, but they require careful use so fun is not overshadowed by tragedy. Unfortunately, young children have the highest risk of pool injury or drowning, with more than 200 youngsters drowning in swimming pools each year. The American Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® have partnered to educate home pool users. The following guidelines are important when adults and children are enjoying the pool.

Create pool barriers.

Preventing accidental drowning means removing easy access to pools. Pools should be surrounded by secure fencing with an automatically latching gate. Fences should not be accessible by climbing. Extra precautions like installing a safety cover on inground pools and removing or securing ladders when the pool is not in use can help as well.

Establish rules.

Each pool owner should establish their own set of rules for the pool. These can include “no running around the pool,” “no diving in a shallow pool” and “no riding toys at poolside.” Pool owners can customize rules as they pertain to safety issues in their yards.

Maintain constant supervision.

People of any age can drown. That is why it’s always safest for swimmers to swim with a buddy or with someone watching. The American Academy of Pediatrics says an adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach when infants and toddlers are swimming. This is known as “touch supervision.” For older children, an adult should be paying constant attention and remain free from distractions, like talking on the phone, socializing, tending to household chores, or drinking alcohol.

Use approved flotation devices.

Individuals who do not know how to swim should rely on a Coast Guard-approved flotation device. Water wings and general pool floats are not adequate, especially in situations that requires someone to be saved.

Take swimming lessons.

Knowing how to swim will not entirely remove the risk of drowning, but it certainly can reduce it. Many swim programs teach water survival skills as well as general swimming techniques.

Fun around the pool is par for the course come summer. But fun must be balanced with safety when swimming.

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How To Avoid Hot Weather Automotive Breakdowns

When the weather warms, many people take to the outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and rising temperatures. Summer road trips or vacations are the norm, but it is important to realize that hot weather can take its toll even on a new, well-maintained vehicle.

High temperatures can cause all sorts of damage to a vehicle, from zapping battery power to overtaxing the cooling system. Recognizing potential hot-weather risks and performing routine checks on the vehicle are the keys to keeping vehicles in top form.

Battery

Excessive heat can shorten the life of a battery because it causes battery fluid to evaporate more quickly. This, in turn, can damage the internal structure of the battery. AAA reports that car battery issues are the most common breakdown calls.

It’s a good idea to top off a battery with distilled water if it is the kind that requires it. Low-maintenance batteries may not have filler caps and will not require water. Inspect the battery for corrosion and leakage of battery acid. This could be a sign that the battery is getting old and will need to be replaced.

Cooling system

Cooling systems work hard to keep the flow of air to the engine and prevent it from overheating during warm seasons. Compromised cooling fans or lack of coolant can be troublesome. To avoid overheating, check coolant levels before getting on the road. In addition, have the cooling system checked by a trained mechanic prior to the summer driving season. It’s a small price to pay to avoid extensive engine damage from overheating.

Tires

Hot weather causes the pressure inside of tires to rise. Overinflated tires can wear down prematurely or result in blowouts. The Car Care Council recommends checking tire pressure routinely in the summer, when tires are cold. Follow the guidelines in the owner’s manual for recommended air pressure. Look for improper tread wear, weak spots or other tire damage that may end up causing flats.

Fluid levels

Hot weather can put extra demand on all fluids and engine components. Check transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and engine oil levels. Top off or change when necessary.

Pack with breakdowns in mind

Plan ahead for potential summer breakdowns by bringing along water, snacks, sunscreen, and an emergency medical kit. Be sure mobile phones are fully charged and that the number of a tow service or roadside assistance crew is entered into your list of contacts in the event of an emergency.

With warm-weather road trips beckoning, it’s time to plan accordingly to prevent breakdowns that can derail fun.

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