It’s no wonder that the Phoenix metro area is called the Valley of the Sun—it’s often so hot, it feels like living on the surface of the sun. The harsh ultraviolet light and heat can be hard on everything, especially vehicles. Paint oxidizes in the sun, and interior surfaces can crack and deteriorate over time.
Taking steps to protect your vehicle from the harmful effects of Phoenix’s extreme heat can help keep your ride looking good and may also prevent costly repairs down the road. Keep your vehicle looking and running its best by following these handy tips.
EXTERIOR CAR CARE
Mind your battery. The desert heat is known to drain the life out of a vehicle’s battery, according to the Car Care Council. The organization offers tips to keep your car battery from falling victim to the Arizona summer temperatures, including testing the battery regularly and keeping the top of the battery clean.
Bathe your buggy. Dirt and debris on the surface of your car can scrape and scratch the topcoat. Additionally, rain mixed with dust can leave water spots on the car’s paint. Washing your vehicle regularly may help prevent damage to its protective topcoat.
“Wax on. Wax off.” A coat of wax can help protect your vehicle’s paint from sun and the elements, according to Consumer Reports. Wax also helps repel dirt and debris, prevent water spots and keeps your car looking shiny and new. Consumer Reports recommends polishing your car in the spring and fall.
Find a shady spot. Parking in the shade will help keep the sun off your car and keep down the interior temperature. If you have leather or vinyl seats in your vehicle, covered parking will save your legs from getting scorched when you sit down.
Cover up. If you don’t have covered parking where you live or work, you could invest in a car cover. These fitted car blankets are like SPF for your vehicle’s paint. Car covers are a great way to keep the sun and dirt off the exterior of your car while shielding the interior from sun damage. Though not as effective as a garage or carport, a weather-resistant car cover will help protect your vehicle from the elements.
Shield your ‘shield. A windshield sunshade will help prevent the sun from deteriorating your car’s dash, steering wheel, and center console, according to the Car Care Council. Sunshades also help keep your car from being brutally hot during the summer months.
Sunglasses for your car. Tinted windows help reduce heat, glare and UV exposure, according to an article by Bloomberg Businessweek. Many businesses offer after-market window tinting in the Valley; be sure they adhere to Arizona state laws on tinting application.
Keep ’em cracked. Valley residents will tell you that cracking your windows keeps the inside of your car from turning into an oven. Extremely hot temperatures over time can cause interior surfaces to fade and deteriorate. Leaving your windows cracked an inch or two will create enough space to vent the hot air.
Living in the Arizona desert can be rough on your ride. Just like you need protection from the sun, your car also benefits from some protection, too. If you follow these tips, you may be able to maintain that new car look a little longer.