Our Top Tips to Protect Your Car in Hot Weather
Date Posted: 22 December 2022
Whenever summer rolls around, it’s always tempting to pack the car up immediately and head out to beaches, campsites and distant holiday destinations, but your auto parts might not be as keen. So, before you hit the road, it’s important to consider the precautions you need to take. Just like us, our cars need to be protected from the intense heat and sunlight that comes with summer. Falling to protect our cars can cause them to prematurely age, break down and even suffer long-term damage. Fortunately, there are ways to protect our car’s interior and exterior auto parts from the heat this summer.
Can Cars Handle Extreme Heat?
Cars are pretty tough, but so are Australian summers. While they can take some heat, extreme conditions can lead to a number of issues.
The Effects of Heat on Car Interiors
If your car is regularly exposed to significant heat, the interiors will begin to break down. The interior parts of your car — meaning the parts within the cabin — are made of synthetic materials that, when overheated, can cause issues. For example, when plastic dashboards or rubber door bumpers are overheated, they can release gases that stain the windows and age your car prematurely. If someone were to inhale this gas, they can also experience health issues. Direct sunlight, which is often a cause of overheating, can also cause car interiors to fade and crack.
The Effects of Heat On Car Exteriors & Internal Mechanics
Extremely hot temperatures can cause a number of issues for your vehicle’s exteriors, as well as the mechanical systems that lie under the hood. For example, heat can dry out the tyres, which are then more susceptible to a blow out. Extreme heat will also wear down and evaporate the fluid in your battery, and prematurely burn up supplies of oil and coolant. Then, when your coolant is running low, your engine will likely overheat and seize up. A piston might even weld itself into the cylinder if the metal gets hot enough, which could destroy your engine altogether. You should also be wary of impairing your fuel economy as a result of evaporating petrol. And finally, sun and heat can cause damage to your car’s paint, specifically causing it to crack and fade.
How Do I Keep My Car From Overheating In the Summer?
Luckily, there are many tips you can follow to prevent your car from overheating this summer. There are also several ways to check whether any heat damage has already been inflicted upon your auto parts. Keeping an eye on your car’s interior and exterior is crucial for maintaining both the safety and functionality of your car. You should also regularly check under the hood, and let a professional have a look if you suspect that something might be off.
Park In the Shade
Parking in a shaded area is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to avoid overheating. By dodging direct sunlight, you can prevent your dashboard from fading and cracking. If you feel it is safe to do so, you can even crack the windows a little bit to help lower the temperature and equalise the air pressure within your car. Taking the time to find a shaded parking spot will also reduce some of the damage caused to your car’s exteriors — especially the paint job. Plus, you won’t have to worry about getting back into a sweltering car and navigating the dangers of burning hot seat belts!
Buy Protective Gear
It is highly recommended that you invest in some protective gear for your vehicle. Windshield protectors, for example, are easy to unfold and slide into place on your dashboard. These visors make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your car cool and protecting it from sun damage, particularly if you can’t find a shady spot. Sun shades are also useful, as these protect the back interiors of the car rather than just the front. Made from fine mesh and easily fitted over the passenger-door window frames, sun shades are an especially good idea if you often have kids or pets as passengers to prevent them from overheating. There are also fabric dashboard protectors that can conveniently be moulded into the shape of your dash. Similarly, seat covers are great for protecting leather and fabric seats, as well as for keeping them cool.
Take Care of Your Car’s Interior
It’s a good idea to wipe down the dash quite frequently with a microfibre cloth. This exercise removes all dust and dirt particles and, when paired with a low-gloss detailing product, will also protect it and reduce glare. If you have leather seats, you should apply a specialised conditioner to them in order to prevent sun-inflicted cracks or tears as well.
Wash, Dry and Wax the Exterior Regularly
As we’ve already mentioned, sun and heat can cause your car’s paint to crack and fade. One way to keep your car looking new is to frequently wash and hand dry it to remove dirt and dust. These dirt and dust particles can create micro scratches and dull your car’s finish. Once this process is complete, you should then wax your car. A layer of wax will help to protect it from the sun’s rays.
When Driving, Pay Attention to the Temperature Gauge
It is important to keep an eye on the temperature gauge as you drive, especially in summer. If the temperature rises above the normal indicator, pull over and turn your engine off as soon as you find a safe spot. This will minimise any damage that might be caused to your engine. Roadside assistance will be able to help you in this situation if you can’t get the temperature back down or to stay down.
Inspect Your Tyres
Hot pavement and underinflated tyres will increase your chances of experiencing a blowout. Even if you have good-quality tyres, it is common for them to lose about one pound of pressure a month. So, when it's hot, get your tyre pressure checked on a regular basis. Make sure you follow the recommended tyre pressure outlined by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Check Your Oil
It is important to regularly check and replace your oil during summer, as it’s partially the oil’s job to prevent your car’s engine from overheating. You should be especially aware of this in the lead up to a heat wave. When you go to check your oil, make sure that the engine is cool first, otherwise you could cause liquid to spray out and burn you. You can ensure that the engine is cool simply by letting it sit for a few hours after driving.
Check the Coolant System
As the temperature rises, it becomes more and more important to ensure that your coolant levels are where they should be. This is because car coolant prevents engines from overheating. On the side of your coolant bottle, there should be markings to indicate whether or not you need a top-up. But before you check, remember to make sure the engine is cool.
Check the Battery
During periods of extreme heat, chemicals within a car battery can sometimes become unbalanced. Your battery will also be dealing with a difficult combination of high temperatures and high accessory loads, which refers to the excessive use of a vehicle’s air conditioning. In this situation, the battery is more likely to wear out and fail faster. To maintain your battery’s ability to perform, get it regularly checked by a qualified technician.
Check Your Air Conditioning System
If your car’s interior temperature simply won’t get cool enough, there may be a problem with your air conditioning system. Don’t ignore this problem — get it inspected by a professional.
Get Your Car Summer-Ready With Top Aftermarket Auto Parts & Accessories
If a part of your vehicle has experienced damage from the sun’s rays or heat, you might need to replace it to prevent further issues. Handily, at Machter, we have a variety of affordable auto parts and accessories to replace the damaged components of your car. These high-quality replacement parts are designed to fit a range of different vehicles and will get your car back into tip-top shape! So shop our huge collection today and get ready for summer!