Cool Tips For Your July Excursions

A warm breeze, the sound of soft rubber on a hot pavement and dog slobber on the rear windows. Welcome to the Dog Days.

How can you up your summer fun quotient and keep your cool when the the mercury rises?

For starters, what are “dog days”?

According to our good friend Merriam Webster, the Dog Star rises on the horizon at the same time as the sun during July in the Northern Hemisphere. Dog Star is known more popularly as “Sirius" and is situated at the base of the neck in the Greek constellation of Canis Major.

Ancient writers such as Homer referred to midsummer as “dog days,” a time of military campaigns and fever. It was translated more literally into English during the Renaissance. The image of warm days and lazy, panting dogs supplanted the picture of a bright rising star.

What does all this mean for today’s drivers? Here are some suggestions:

  • Ask your service advisor to run a battery performance check. Summer heat can sap the power in a weak battery and leave you stranded far from home.
  • Get an A/C system inspection before any summer outings. Your climate control system needs regular maintenance to keep the cool air flowing. Check the fluid, hoses and fans and belts.
  • Invest in a pair of battery jump-start cables. They come in handy if your vehicle battery won’t turn over your engine, and you can help stranded motorists who are having battery problems of their own.
  • Rotate tires. This is an important way to prevent abnormal wear and improve traction. Tire rotation is one of the simplest--and least expensive--ways to extend tread life.
  • Check tire inflation. Tires lose as much as 3 pounds of pressure each month. Underinflation can causes tires to flatten out and ride on the thin sidewall. Low tire pressure can lead to steering problems and tire blowouts.
  • Inspect the spare. It’s easy to forget since it is rarely used. Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated and has plenty of tread.
  • Install a vehicle rack for gear. Keep your cabin clear for passengers, pets, snacks and beverages. Cargo containers come in a variety of sizes and shapes that fit snugly on the roof and provide easy but secure access.
  • Bring along a pack of microfiber towels. They’re highly absorbent and handy for minor jobs such as cleaning soiled windows or interior spills.
  • Get a bottle of quality window cleaner. Summer dust and road grime can make a mess of your vehicle windows when you’re away from home. Avoid blue fluids that contain ammonia and cause streaks. Use window cleaner designed specifically for auto glass.
  • Remove haze on the interior glass surfaces. Contaminants and gases from vehicle interiors coat the interior glass with a thin layer fog-like film. Haze seems benign but can quickly turn a window into a sheet of blinding glare.
  • Invest in water filtration containers. These handy bottles purify water in seconds and are small enough to pack along for a hike. They provide peace of mind if you’re worried about water-borne viruses, sediment, heavy metals or sanitary conditions.
  • Install rubber floor mats. Those summer hikes can make a smelly mess out of your vehicle carpet. Rubber mats are a convenient answer to summer rain and soiled shoes.
  • Invest in a pair of battery jump-start cables. They come in handy if your vehicle battery won’t turn over your engine, and you can help a stranded motorist who is having battery problems of their own.
  • Taking your dog “star” out for a drive. Bring along lots of water and a collapsible bowl.
  • Use a cargo cover for pets or coolers. They keep wet fur, accidents or leaks from soiling the carpet. Make sure to get one designed to fit your specific SUV or truck.
  • Never leave a child or pet in a closed vehicle. A cracked window is not enough to keep them cool. The vehicle cabin can reach lethal temperatures within minutes even on mild days.

Remember: Dogs pant, they don’t sweat. They labor to reduce body temperature.