In our last article, we discussed the importance of vehicle A/C maintenance when summer is on its way. Today, we delve deeper into what needs to be done to make sure your vehicle is ready for the harsh summer sun and heat. While A/C is important for your comfort, there’s things that need to be taken care of to make sure your vehicle retains its resale value.
We all know that the sun’s damaging rays can fade your paint job, but how can you help prevent it? The first, and somewhat obvious, tip is to try to keep your vehicle out of the sun as much as possible. We’re not saying keep your car in the garage for the whole summer, because that’s not possible, but try to park in shaded areas whenever they’re available. Look for overhangs, trees, etc. and park as close as you can. Just be mindful when parking under trees – the last thing you want to come out to is a vehicle covered in sap or bird droppings.
Other options to protect your paint job include paint protection film or a ceramic coating. We could, and will, do a whole article just discussing the differences between these two options so we’ll stick to the basics for now. Both are invisible to the naked eye and will protect your paint job from UV damage, chemical stains and oxidation. Paint protection film is thicker and will also protect against chips and scratches, while a ceramic coating makes your car easier to clean and enhances gloss.
Be sure to wash your vehicle regularly throughout the summer. Dust can act like sandpaper on a vehicle’s clear coat. Add in bird droppings, tree sap, and dead bugs and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Hitting the car wash weekly, and hosing your car off when needed, will go a long way to keeping your vehicle safe from oxidation and rust. Be sure to dry it after the wash – you don’t want those pesky water spots ruining your otherwise beautiful car.
Vinyl absorbs UV radiation even faster than paint, resulting in crumbling wiper blades that won’t really help you see during those summer rainstorms. It’s important to keep an eye on your wiper blades to make sure they are replaced when necessary. Once you’ve got a new set on, how can you keep them working properly? You should be cleaning your wiper blades at least every three months. You can use a simple clean cloth to wipe the dirt and debris off the blades, or go further and use vinegar to ensure a deep clean. Once cleaned, apply a rubber protectant like 303 Rubber Seal Protectant to keep those blades from cracking in the summer heat.
Just like those windshield wipers, your car’s interior is more susceptible to damage from the sun and heat. Cracking is a major concern for your dashboard, steering wheel, seats (if vinyl or leather) and the rest of your interior. The sun’s rays can also cause your upholstery and carpet to fade. The easiest way to combat this is by parking out of the sun, as suggested above. But that isn’t always a possibility. So what else can you do? Sunshades can lower the temperature in your vehicle by up to 50°, protecting your vehicle interior from both heat and direct sunlight. You can also use leather conditioners and vinyl protectant, available in most chain stores, on interior surfaces as an added layer of protection.
All those trips to the beach, lake, or park can result in a lot of sand and dirt in your vehicle, courtesy of your very own feet. Keeping up on your air filters will make sure this doesn’t become a bigger problem.
Under the Hood
Last but not least, check under the hood to make sure your vehicle is ready for summer. Excessive heat can cause belts and hoses to break and detach. Checking these before the season hits to make sure they’re in good shape can help prevent a breakdown on the side of the road later on. If anything is looking weak or damaged, it’s best to swap it out before it becomes a bigger issue. These should also be checked at the end of summer.
As temperatures rise, fluid levels tend to go down. Be sure to check all fluids and antifreeze to see if any top offs are needed. The opposite goes for the air in your tires. For every 10° increase in temperature, tire pressure increases by 1 PSI. Checking your tire pressure and adjusting as needed will prolong the life of your tires and ensure a safe ride.
While we’re all looking forward to the lazy days of summer, especially after a long cold winter, it’s important to remember that the change in temperature can have an adverse effect on your vehicle. Following these maintenance steps will help ensure your vehicle stays in better shape longer – and retains that resale value. Now go enjoy that sunshine!