11 Tips to Protect Your Car from the Damaging Effects of Sun & Heat

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Protect your car from the sun and heat

Most of us know what it’s like to enter a car parked in the sun for a couple of hours. As it turns out, blazing hot car interiors aren’t just uncomfortable. Extreme sunlight and high temperatures can wreak havoc on cars in the long haul. We’re talking flaking paint, faded upholstery, frequent overheating, cracks in the dashboard, and – in some cases- engine failure. 

But that’s not all you should be worried about. A report suggests that nearly 908 children have died from vehicular heatstroke from 1998-present. It goes without saying, extreme heat and cars do not mix.

You probably don’t want to see your car age prematurely. Luckily, you don’t have to. There are several ways you can protect your car from sun damage. These measures can help your vehicle weather the heat far more effectively. 

Let’s look at eleven preventative tips you can implement today.

1. Wash and Dry Your Car as Frequently as Possible

Wash and dry your car frequently

Your car attracts a ton of debris and minerals on the road. If allowed to fester, they can react with the sunlight and crack the paint job. Also, dead bugs on the exterior can decompose and release toxic acids onto the car’s surface, ruining the paint further.

The best way to avoid this is to wash your car as frequently as you can. Dry it with a soft microfiber cloth to remove the remaining grime. A little vigilance and consistency can go a long way!

Remember to give the car interiors some TLC too. Heat and crumbs don’t mix, and the last thing you want is spoilt food particles caked into your floor mats. 

2. Get Your Car Waxed

Ceramic coating vs wax

Just cleaning your car won’t cut it: you will have to wax it at least twice a year to lock in the exterior paint. Wax acts as a protective layer, minimizing scratches and UV damage.

In case you want to go a slightly more permanent route, consider getting a ceramic coating to protect your car from the sun. Being tough, durable, and heat-resistant, ceramic coatings can keep your vehicle bright and shiny for a long time.

3. Park in the Shade

Park your car in the shade

This is plain, old-school common sense. If your home doesn’t have a garage, it’s in your best interest to find a shady parking spot to protect your car from the sun. Try keeping your car under a tree, in the shadow of a building, or even in an indoor parking lot – especially during peak sun hours. 

You might have to fork over a parking fee or spend a few extra minutes looking for a free space. But in the end, you know your precious car is worth it.

4. Leave the Windows Open Just a Smidge

Car window slightly open with dog

Sure, it’s foolish to leave your car windows wide open. However, even a tiny break in the windows can promote air circulation, lowering the car’s internal temperature. This way, the heat will have a lesser impact on the upholstery and dash.

5. Have Your Battery Tested

Assess battery life

Constantly running the air conditioning system can increase the load on your car battery and wear it out quicker. Be sure to get it tested periodically to keep unpleasant surprises at bay. You don’t want your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

6. Check the Tire Pressure

Check tire pressure regularly

Here’s a quick physics tip: air expands when heated. Applied to your tires, this means the air trapped inside has a higher chance of escaping during summer. Underinflated tires are more likely to blow out, so it’s best if you perform a tire pressure check at least once a month. We recommend you do this early in the morning while the temperatures are cooler to get the most accurate reading.

7. Install Windshield Protectors

Install windshield protector

There’s no denying that the front interiors of your car get the most sunlight. Besides making it harder for you to drive (hot seats, oh my!), this can cause the dashboard to fade and lose its flawless appearance.

You can shield your dash by installing a tinted protector on your windshield. This will drastically reduce the amount of sunlight streaming inside your car. 

8. Keep an Eye on Fluid Levels

Check coolant levels

High heat can burn through your car’s fluids like there’s no tomorrow. Unless you monitor your fluid levels regularly, you may face car problems that leave you stranded miles away from home. Here are three car fluids to check in the summertime.

  • Coolant: Start by inspecting the level and condition of coolant in the car’s reservoir. In case it’s cloudy or rusty, replace it. Otherwise, you’ll only need to top it off to the level shown.
  • Motor oil: A hot engine requires all the lubrication it can get. Always change your motor oil at intervals mentioned in the owner’s manual. Plus, remember to check the oil levels at least once a month.
  • Transmission fluid: Driving your car with a low transmission fluid level is dangerous. When the levels drop, feed a small funnel through the dipstick tube to fill it back up. Add a little at a time to avoid spillage. 

9. Invest in Seat Covers

Invest in car seat covers

Summer heat can damage your car’s upholstery, big time. For example, leather is known to stiffen and dry out from prolonged UV exposure. And there’s always a risk of existing food stains getting baked into the material permanently.

That said, there’s a simple solution to this problem: car seat covers!

Car seat covers bring a lot to the table. They look good, feel great, and are simple to maintain/replace. But most importantly, they protect your existing upholstery from dust, downpours, food spills, and UV rays. 

If you’re not looking to shell out for new seat covers anytime soon, make sure you’re taking good care of your upholstery. Regular conditioning is vital for leather seats, especially during the summer.

10. Consider Getting Window Tints

Car window tints

Gone are the days when tinted windows were reserved for celebrities alone. Now, everyone uses them for aesthetic reasons and to protect cars from the sun

Window tinting involves applying a tint film on the inside of a car’s windows. They are a great way to block out harmful UV rays. Furthermore, they offer:

  • Increased privacy
  • Improved comfort
  • Better gas mileage by reducing air conditioner use
  • Accident safety by holding broken window panes together

That said, each state has its laws about window tinting. Be sure to find out what’s permissible in your area before making a purchase.

11. Use a Car Cover

Use car cover to protect your car from the sun

You don’t have to jump through hoops to protect your car from the sun. Simply using a light car cover can do the trick. If you’re not going to use your car extensively, cover it up with a clean, light fabric.

A car cover achieves multiple things at once. Not only does it shield your car from the heat, but it also keeps leaves, debris, bird droppings, and dust at bay. Essentially, a covered car is easier to clean, no questions asked.

The Bottom Line

Just like with humans, the summer heat is tough on cars. The warm weather, hot roads, dry air, and extended trips to the beach can all combine to degrade your precious automobile. But the good news is that adopting some or all of these simple tips will allow your car to age more gracefully. They don’t take much effort to implement and can save you a lot of costly repairs down the road. 

Need auto detailing services to protect your car from the sun?  Look no further than Big’s Mobile. We have all hands on deck to get your showstopper ready for the summer. Give us a call at (425) 243-9155 or reach out online today.

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