Hot summer months usually entail a couple of important household preparations. However, did you know that your car needs a summer treatment as well, even if it’s brand new? Sure, we all know how important it is to prepare the vehicle for colder winter months and have a pretty good idea of what we need to do. But, the summer sun and heat can be equally as devastating to our four-wheelers as ice and snow. Let us take a look then at a couple of steps we can take to make sure our cars are in top form when temperatures go through the roof.
Taking care of the upholstery
When thinking about the damaging effects of the sun, the first thing that crosses our mind is the vehicle’s hull. However, one of the areas that sustain the most damage is, actually, the interior of the vehicle, or to be more precise leather seat upholstery. So, assuming that you have already performed thorough spring cleaning, now is the time to install lighter color upholstery covers that will reflect light and heat instead of absorbing them. Some of the products you can find in the market even feature built-in fan-cooling, which makes driving considerably more comfortable in extreme temperatures.
Protect the interior with sunshades
Ok, now that we took care of the sensitive upholstery what can we do about the rest of the interior? Extreme temperatures, trapped air, and materials like plastic, leather, and rubber can prove to be one devastating combination. With the things as they are, the best thing you can do to protect the vehicle is to minimize the amount of heat allowed to crawl in. By far the most efficient way to do so is to use the reflective windshield and windscreen sun shades that will protect the interior from inclement damage caused by the sun and knock the temperature down by a couple of degrees.
Do the wax job
We can’t stress enough just how important waxing is during sunny summer months. First and foremost, wax effectively acts as a sunscreen adding a layer of protection between your vehicle and harmful UV rays. Second, waxing turns the hull into a mirror-like surface that has a far easier job reflecting the sun. And we haven’t even mentioned the protection from dirt, grime and all other things you can pick up on the hot roads. You get the point, though – polishing and waxing a car should be everyone’s summer priority. Find yourself an experienced professional that will be able to perform this task competently.
Regularly check the tire pressure
In one of the previous sections, we have mentioned that trapped air and rubber don’t exactly play along at extreme temperatures. Well, the asphalt tends to get really, really hot in the height of summer, and if your tires are not sufficiently inflated, this volatile mix can cause an instant blow out. So, do your best to regularly check the tire pressure and act upon the first sign of under-inflation. In normal circumstances, we would recommend you do this monthly, but just to be sure, you can perform weekly checkups. Do this early in the morning when the temperatures are still not that high.
Wash and hand-dry the vehicle whenever you can
Waxing the vehicle does a great deal of heavy lifting when it comes to protecting the hull from the debris you pick up while driving. But, keep in mind that the wax is not fully impenetrable. If some of the particles find a way through this layer, high temperatures can cake them onto the exterior surface and cause permanent paint damage. That is why you should do your best to frequently wash the car and then hand-dry the surface with a soft cloth – if not after every driving, then at least after exhaustive long-distance tracks.
Keep things in order under the hood
Last but not least high temperatures and long exposure to summer sun can cause serious damage to the vehicle’s interior and seemingly well-protected systems. Especially after spending several hours behind the wheel in a row. So, keep a close eye on the following things:
- Cooling (coolant levels, belts, etc.)
- Essential fluids (motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid)
- Air conditioning (refrigerant charge levels)
In the last case, we have to point out that high accessory loads coupled with extreme temperatures can cause serious battery failures. That is why you should leave this duty to the professional mechanic.
There you have it – six tips to keep your car protected from the effects of the sun and extreme temperatures. When it comes to vehicles, summer maintenance duties often end up lost in the shuffle. But, high temperatures and UV rays can be just as damaging as mud, snow, frosting, and other usual suspects. So, give your four-wheeler some love – you will be well-rewarded with improved road security and excellent performance.