You know you need sunscreen and layers to protect you from the sun, lest you get a bad sunburn. It stands to reason that if UV rays can be bad for you, they can be bad for other things—even things not covered in skin. Your vehicles, for instance, can suffer sun damage, but just as you can intervene on behalf of your body, you can intervene on behalf of your possessions, too.
Can the sun damage your vehicle?
The sun can damage your vehicle’s appearance by oxidizing the paint, and can even make the interiors dry and aged, especially if they’re made of leather. What’s more, heat can impact your cooling system, your fluids, your battery, and your air conditioning. The issues range from vanity-based to actually impacting your safety, so it’s important to tackle the sun’s impact on your car from a variety of angles.
How to protect your vehicle’s operations from the sun
According to State Farm, you need to make sure your vehicle is in good working order, get the belts checked, and have your antifreeze or coolant drained regularly. Overheating is more likely when your fluid levels dip below the recommendations, so check your motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, andbrake fluid regularly, too.
High temps and use of high-accessory loads like air conditioning can also impact your battery, so get have checked regularly. And if the air conditioning itself isn’t functioning—which could be a sign of a more serious issue—that should be looked at, too. And finally, keep tire pressure in mind: Hot pavement will be especially dangerous to under-inflated tires and can even lead to a blowout.
How to protect your vehicle’s appearance from the sun
Obviously, your car’s safety and function is more important than its aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean the appearance and comfort of one of your most expensive purchases isn’t also important. Here are tips for protecting the interior and exterior of your vehicle from the effects of the sun:
Park in the shade to avoid your dash drying and cracking, and consider cracking a window to get some airflow, if it’s safe to do that where you parked.
Use a windshield sun protector to keep the interior cooler and protect your dash even more.
Wipe down your dash with a microfiber cloth, as dirt can cause even more scratching—and you are bound to get more dust and dirt inside when you crack the windows for cooling. Look into detailing products, too, which can protect your dash more.
Use seat covers to protect and cool seats, or consider a product like Fibrenew, which protects leather seats from sun.
Wash and dry the car often, because sun and heat can fade and crack the paint, which will be exacerbated by dirt and dust scratching it
Get your car waxed to provide a layer of protection between the finish and the UV rays.
These are simple steps that can prevent your car from looking older than its true age, overheating, or experiencing a tire blowout.