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Keep Your Car Safe from the Sun

sun on carYou wouldn’t leave a child out in the sun, exposed and unprotected from harmful UV rays for years at a time, right? So why do the same with your car? Yes, vehicles are not living things, but the same heat that causes sunburns and heat stoke also wreaks havoc on your vehicles. Take care of your loved ones, of course, then follow this guide to protect your expensive investment from the damaging summer sun.

Heat is just the ambient temperature and when it is extremely high, critical components can be stressed to the point of failure. UV rays are a barrage of light waves from the sun that slowly destroy plastics, rubber, and even paint. Heat and UV rays can both damage a vehicle, but there are solutions to both problems.

Heat Protection

For preventing heat issues there are a number of steps you can take, and some of them are cheap or free. For example, do your best to park in the shade. This isn’t always an option, but a vehicle parked in shade can be up to 20 degrees cooler on the inside versus a vehicle in sunlight.

You can keep a lot of heat out of your vehicle with sun shades. Think of them as sunglasses for your car. The affordable folding reflective shades drastically reduce interior temperatures and, while it will still be hot inside, it will at least be manageable. Also, keeping the windows “cracked” about a half inch will allow air to cycle in and out of your vehicle, moderating the temperature rather than building up heat in a greenhouse effect.

Check your battery before summer begins. Take it to an auto parts chain or service center that reads check engine lights, and they will likely have the equipment to quickly inspect your battery. This battery test should be free. If not, go somewhere else. If you prefer the Do-It -Yourself approach and have a muilti-meter, set it to 20V setting and connect the leads. If it reads below around 12.3V it needs to be charged and you need to keep an eye on it.

UV Protection

waxing carTo protect from UV damage some of the above applies. Park in shady areas when able. Also, keep your vehicle clean. Wash regularly as needed and follow up with at least one layer of wax. This acts as a temporary clear-coat over the actual clear-coat of the paint. Yes, you will need to wax again in three months, but the point is to let the wax get blasted by the UV rays, leaving the factory clear-coat underneath protected.

To take this a step further, look into clear protection films for the headlights of most vehicles. These easy to apply films cling to the surface of plastics, preventing UV damage that causes hazing. If you have ever seen cloudy headlights, this is what they should have used. The UV protection films are affordable and very easy to apply. Even more protection is available as a custom film over the entire vehicle. These wraps can be pricey, but they protect your paint from just about everything, including the sun.

Don’t forget about the interior of your ride. Perhaps you were wanting window tint just for the privacy and good looks it adds to any vehicle. Now you have another reason to get it done, as most window tint reflects heat and UV rays. Not all tint reflects UV, so be sure to ask your favorite local installer exactly what kind of protection they offer. The DIY approach is commendable in most situations, but window tint can go horribly wrong if performed by someone unfamiliar with the process, so just leave this one to the experts.

While the summer sun can make things way too hot for people and their cars, with a little bit of knowhow, you can hopefully sweat a little less this summer.

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