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For the last quarter of a century (can you believe it’s been that long?)...
No matter where you live, whether it’s in New England or down in the Southwest, the summer months can be brutal. A warm summer’s day can mean extreme internal temperatures for your vehicle, they may be uncomfortable for you but they’re damaging your car.
After living in the high desert of Colorado for 18 years, where our summer temps reach 105 degrees and it’s sunny 360 days of the year, I’ve picked up a trick or two about sun and heat protection.
Buy (and use) a sunshade
These slightly unwieldy accessories lower the internal temperature in your car as well as protecting your dashboard from harmful UV rays. Extreme temperatures can cause the plastic to warp and crack and the UV light breaks down the plastic and causes unsightly pits. Just keeping the sunshade in your car isn’t going to help, make sure you put it up whenever you leave your vehicle. (I know this one from experience! My poor dash was just beginning to pit so I also added the following…)
Use protective detailing products.
These most often come as sprays and wipes. I’m sure everyone has their favorite products, I’m partial to the wipes as they’re easy to use and they store well in the car (my favorite brand rhymes with Farmer Call). They make my car look great and help protect it from sun damage and make the slightly damaged areas look great!
Park in the shade
The best place to park is a covered parking garage, but under a shady tree or in the shadow of a building is a great option as well. This helps keep the internal temperature down and protects the interior from UV damage.
Which leads us to taking care of your car’s exterior.
Keep your car clean
If you park under a tree keep your eye out for either sap, fruit, or the possibility of bird poop as all of these things can lead to car damage over time. Keeping your car clean is better for the paint and clear coat as you can get small scratches that can worsen over time.
If you use a self-service car wash, leave that brush wand in its holder. The bristles and dirt left in the wand can damage your clear coat and paint.
Wax your car
Wax acts as a ‘sunscreen’ and general protectant for your paint and clear coat. You can either get a synthetic or natural (carnauba) wax. People will tell you one is better than the other, and it’s up to you who you think is right.
(Full disclosure, I have never actually waxed my car, not poor Lyra Marco or Black Bette. I use the wax option on the self-service car washes though.)
Check your tire pressure
It’s important to check your tire pressure when the weather starts heating up. Over or under inflated tires can lead to a dangerous blowout. Having a tire pressure gauge in your glove box is a cheap and easy way to do that. You can find the correct PSI for your car listed in your vehicle owner’s manual as well as on a sticker found in the glove box, vehicle door edge, doorpost, or fuel door.
If you have any warm weather car tips we’d love to hear them! Send them to us on Twitter or Facebook.