Most of us know sunscreen and shade can help protect us from the sun and the relentless heat. But you can’t slather sunscreen on your car. And shade isn’t always an option. That’s why your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) are offering ways to protect your car from sun damage inside, outside and under the hood.
• If you can’t find covered parking and there’s no rain in the forecast, crack your windows a bit to improve airflow and lower the inside temperature.
• A sun shield or windshield visor can protect your dashboard and steering wheel. You may also want to consider rear shades and window shades. No sun protection? Placing a towel over the steering wheel can keep your fingers from feeling the burn.
• Heat and UV exposure can dry out the dashboard. Use a microfiber cloth to regularly wipe away dust and dirt. For a detailing product, stick with low-gloss to reduce glare.
• Upholstery can fade, tear and crack due to sun damage. For leather seats, follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for conditioning. Seat covers offer protection not only from the sun, but also spills, stains and wear and tear.
• Wash and dry frequently. Dust, bugs and bird droppings can cause corrosive damage if left on a vehicle, especially with the sun baking it in.
• Heat and sun can cause paint to fade and even crack. A layer of wax can offer protection.
• If your car is regularly parked in direct sunlight, consider investing in a good quality cover specifically made to block UV rays. Avoid covering a dirty vehicle.
Under the hood
• Heat evaporates battery fluids, which can speed up corrosion. If your battery is more than three years old, have it tested.
• Neglecting minor air conditioning issues like a leaky hose can lead to early compressor failure, which can top $1000 to fix. If it’s running warm, have it checked out.
• Make sure engine (motor) oil, coolant/antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid are full. Fluids lubricate parts and carry heat away from important parts. Extreme heat will lead to evaporation and potentially reduce the cooling effect, which can lead to your car overheating.
• Like wiper blades, the heat can create problems on other rubber parts like belts and hoses. Check for signs of wear and cracking and if you see anything questionable, get it fixed.