With summer just around the corner, people everywhere are eager to hit the road and spend time in the sun. While most people know the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm their skin, many might not be aware of the damage sunlight can inflict on their cars. There are several problems likely when vehicles spend too much time in the sun, including faded exterior paint and a fractured steering wheel. Our cars are costly investments, so it is essential to take preventative measures to prolong their lives as much as possible.
Fortunately, there are numerous steps you can take to protect your car from sun damage and ensure it remains in excellent condition throughout the summer months.
Stay proactive this summer with the following tips to keep your car safe in the heat.
Frequently Monitor the Fluid Levels
When the temperature is warm, your car’s fluids get used up more quickly than during moderate or cold weather conditions. If you are low on transmission fluid or coolant, this – combined with hot temperatures – can increase the risk of damage.
Park in the Shade to Prevent Sun-Faded Car Paint
When you need to park your car outdoors, be sure to park it in the shade whenever possible, especially when you are going to leave your vehicle for an extended period. If you have access to a parking structure, always park your car there to avoid prolonged exposure. If there are no parking structures available, try to find an area with shade or a reduced amount of sunlight. This will help preserve your car’s paint and ensure you won’t return to find your car’s interior uncomfortably hot.
Get Your Battery Tested Each Summer
In warm conditions, it is common for people to use their vehicle’s air conditioning more often, which increases the strain on the car’s battery. Having the battery and fuel system checked regularly can help prevent unexpected breakdowns and reduce the chances of your car not starting during extremely warm days.
Have Your Air Filters Checked
Dust and various debris usually circulate in the air at higher rates throughout the summer, which can cause your car’s air filters to become clogged. When this occurs, it may affect your gas mileage. This can also harm your car’s mass air flow sensor, responsible for adjusting the fuel and air levels in the car’s motor.
Use Reflectorized Sun Panels for Sun Protection
It may be inconvenient to have to bring out these panels whenever you park your car in a sunny area, but using them on your front and rear dashboards can majorly reduce the car’s internal temperature when you come back. Using these panels can also deter the sun’s bleaching effect from harming your car’s interior, which can decrease the vehicle’s value if you plan on selling it in the future.
Check Your Tire Pressure Each Month
Hot weather, cornered air, and rubber creates an unstable combination, and it is particularly important to monitor these conditions throughout the summer. Under-inflated tires have an increased risk of blowing out in warm temperatures, so it is vital to inspect your tire pressure once every month to avert the chance of accidents, as well as poor gas mileage. To get the most precise pressure readings, check your tires early in the day when temperatures are at their lowest level.
Routinely Maintain Your Vehicle’s Interior
Gathering grime, debris, and dirt on your dashboard and other surfaces within the crevasses of your car, along with the combination of dust and the sun’s heat can damage your car’s interior. However, making time to clean your car throughout the summer on a routine basis reduces the impact of this issue completely.
Wash and Dry Regularly
Like dust and debris in the interior of your car, the sun’s impact on the dirt laying on your car’s exterior can cause severe damage to its paint. Prevent the build-up of grime, minerals, and other debris by washing and drying your vehicle’s exterior regularly. Ensure no debris will stick to any remaining moisture on the car’s surface by using a dry, soft cloth to dry it thoroughly.
Employ Protective Wax to Protect Car Paint
Consider waxing your car at least two times per year to ensure the natural oils embedded within the vehicle’s exterior paint get a protective layer from both debris and the sun’s rays. If you need to know how to repair sun-damaged car paint, protective wax can also restore the faded and oxidized exterior of your vehicle.
From appearance issues to severe operational problems, there are countless ways the sun can wreak havoc on your car. Even though there is no way of completely avoiding summer heat, employing one or more of these simple suggestions this summer can help you prepare for the warmest conditions in hopes of securing your vehicle’s value and prolonging its lifespan.
Mitch Reynolds works as a content writer for Red Mountain Funding, an automotive financing company based in Mesa, AZ. When he isn’t writing, you can probably find him drinking IPAs, playing mini-golf, spending time with his wife or exploring the great outdoors of Arizona. Say hi to him on Twitter @MitchGoesFast!