Summertime and the living’s easy. But it is also very hot, which means heat takes its toll on vehicles and drivers alike. You can’t change the weather, but you can prepare for it. The following checklist covers the summer essentials that belong in your car’s toolkit.
Summer Must-Haves For Your Car
Every car toolkit should include work gloves, duct tape, heavy-duty jumper cables, hand tools, rags, spare fuses, flares and a flashlight. Where an ice scraper is essential for the winter, rain gear and an umbrella are important in the warmer months, especially if you’re outside and working on your car. In any case, you’ll also want to include the following items:
1. Coolant — You can’t stuff a bottle of coolant in most toolkits, but you can keep one handy nevertheless. If your car overheats, fresh coolant will most certainly help. Add a spare radiator hose, knife, and clamps to the kit, which are ideal for handling most coolant system repairs.
2. Fire extinguisher — Vehicle fires can be dangerous, even deadly. Investing in a fire extinguisher approved for use on class B (flammable liquids and gases) and class C (electrical) fires is a must. Learn how to use one before the need arises.
3. Portable power station — You’ll want to ensure your car’s battery is in top shape before the next heat wave arrives. Yet, even a strong battery can wither under summer’s heat. If your battery dies and you’re stranded, a portable power station supplies an instant jump. Just make sure your station is charged monthly to keep it strong for when you need it.
Summer Essentials For Your Person
Now that you’ve taken care of your ride, you need to consider yourself and your passengers.
1. Bug spray — What good is it if you arrive at your destination only to be swarmed by insects? Mosquitoes not only cause itching and rashes, but may carry diseases, including the West Nile and Zika viruses. Products containing Deet or Picaridin may prove most effective. Apply repellent only to exposed skin areas and clothing. Don’t overdo it as excess repellent could prove toxic.
2. Sunscreen — Insects aren’t the only challenge we face every summer. Damaging UV rays from the sun can cause burns, contribute to wrinkles and even cause cancer. Look for a product with a high SPF rating, and one that offers protection from UVA and UVB rays. Reapply after a few hours or whenever you finish your swim.
3. Sunglasses — An extra pair of sunglasses can come in handy, especially if you misplace yours. The best pairs are oversized to cover more area and offer complete protection from UV rays. Eyeglass cleaner and a microfiber cleaning cloth are also must-have items.
As for food and water, neither belongs inside your summer toolkit, where they’ll be soon forgotten and prone to spoilage. Bring what you need for your trip, keeping those items in the passenger area. Remove unused items daily.
Summertime Is Here
The heat is on and you’re ready to hit the road. With adequate preparation, you can avoid the painful downsides of the season. This is also a good time to replenish your first-aid kit, which can reside within your larger toolkit.
Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on summer essentials for your car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.