How to Protect Your Car from the Summer Heat
Arizona’s vast terrain is ideal for traveling on the wide, open road – or to any destination with air conditioning, at least in the summertime. Last August, the average temperature in Phoenix was 99 degrees.
You don’t have to go far for those high temperatures to start to harm your car. Penetrating UV rays will eventually take a toll, both on the inside and outside of your vehicle. As our summers get hotter, it’s more important than ever to take the appropriate measures that will extend the life of your car.
Park in the Shade
When you’re late for an appointment, the relative shadiness of your parking spot is probably the last thing on your mind. But parked in the sun, things heat up fast! Car seats can reach above 120 degrees in the summer. Your dashboard can get closer to 160 degrees. Even in the shade, the temperature inside your car might be well over 100. Look for at least some protection from the sun, and crack open a window or two so you return to more comfortable conditions.
Check Tire Pressure
Intense heat can cause tire pressure to increase, as well. According to Goodyear, tires increase by 1-2 pounds of pressure for every ten degrees of increased temperature. With that in mind, check your tire pressure before heading out in hotter weather. You don’t want your underinflated tires on hot pavement to lead to a blowout.
Protect Car’s Exterior
Sun and heat can take a toll on many parts of a car, including the exterior, causing the paint to fade and crack. Washing and hand drying your vehicle often will remove particles stuck on the surface that might cause small scratches. This habit will make your car’s finish stay brighter and more vibrant as it ages.
Next time you hit the car wash, remember that regular waxing is a simple way to add a little extra protection. It helps to lock in the oils with the paint and protects the surface against peak sun exposure.
Protect Car’s Interior
Especially in hotter months, consider installing a windshield sun protector when parking in the sun. Costing between $10 and $60, a windshield protector is an inexpensive way to prevent sun damage on the dashboard. Simply unfold and slide it into place on your dash when parking under the sun, especially if you plan to stay for an hour or more.
It’s also a good idea to wipe your dash periodically with a microfiber cloth. Small scratches caused by dirt and dust can worsen the surface appearance over time. A low-gloss detailing product can also be used to protect the dash and reduce glare.
Protect Car Seats
It’s worth protecting your smooth, comfortable interior from sun and heat damage, as well. If you worry about your leather seats cracking from too much sun exposure, install seat covers. They will protect leather and fabric seats alike and help keep them cool in warmer months. You can help avoid cracks and tears by keeping your seats clean and applying leather conditioner frequently.
Additional Heat-Related Auto Care
In Arizona’s more sweltering months, it’s especially important to keep an eye on the dashboard gauge for signs of rising internal temperatures. Here are three relatively easy steps to protect you and your car from heat-related problems:
- Check your battery. Extreme temperatures could push an aging battery over the edge
- Check your tires. The heat can exacerbate problems caused by worn treads.
- Keep a spare tire in the trunk in case of tire trouble. If your car doesn’t have one be sure to have a backup plan before hitting the road.
Carry Auto Insurance with Roadside Assistance
In case of an engine overheating or a flat tire, be sure your auto insurance plan includes roadside assistance. Generally speaking, overheating signals that there might be internal engine damage or a malfunctioning cooling system. However, many parts can break down and cause a car engine to overheat. Have an automotive technician examine your car to avoid these potential problems:
- Low oil level
- Damaged thermostat
- Improper levels of coolant or antifreeze, causing the coolant system to fail
- Leak in the cooling system
- Damaged water pump
- Radiator problems
- Plugged heater core
- Belt and hose issues
Having AAA or other forms of assistance can save you time and money in a pinch, not to mention provide extra safety when you’re out on the road. Once a problem is diagnosed, a mechanic can often make the necessary repairs so that the engine doesn’t overheat again.
Insurance is a big part of protecting yourself and your car when you’re out in the summer heat. Visit AZ Auto online to get a free quote on insurance and we’ll help you find the best deal for your needs.