When you’re sunning by the lake on a nice June weekend, there’s a good chance you’re wearing sunscreen, maybe even a floppy hat, and likely have a nice cool drink within arms reach. Over in the parking lot, your car is absorbing the same strong sun beating down on the lake…and that vehicle could use some protection too! A little preventive care goes a long way when it comes to protecting your car from the elements. Take a look at our tips below.
- Park in the shade and crack the windows. Think of your dash as the skin of your vehicle’s interior. You want to keep direct sunlight off that skin as much as possible, to avoid drying and cracking. Parking in the shade, when possible, is the easiest form of protection. While it may be 80 degrees outside, the interior temperature in a sealed vehicle can shoot well over 100. Cracking the windows not only eases the interior temperature, it also equalizes air pressure, which protects your interior surfaces as well.
- Use a Windshield Sun Protector. Okay, so you’re not always going to want to hunt six blocks for a shady parking spot. When you must park in direct sunlight, be sure to have a sun protector handy for quick protection. While they may look bulky and inconvenient if you’ve never used one, quickly opening a protector becomes second nature after a few uses.
- Wipe Down Your Dash – Preferably with a Microfiber Cloth. This one may surprise you, but accumulated dust and debris can actually cause micro scratches in your dash. These scratches can deepen and widen over time. It’s best to wipe down the dash two or three times with a microfiber cloth to remove all particles.
- Apply a Low Gloss Interior Detailing Product to Your Dash. The low gloss is actually for your eyes – it reduces glare – while the product should also protect your dash from the sun. Note: Spray onto a cotton cloth first, and then rub into dash. Do not spray directly onto interior surfaces. After applying, wait 10 minutes before using a microfiber cloth to buff the surfaces clean. If it’s your first time using such a product, ask a Golden Triangle Auto Care staff member for a recommendation.
- Wash Your Car Frequently. Just like dust on an interior surface, dust and other particles sitting on your exterior paint can also cause micro scratches that, you guessed it, can widen over time. Furthermore, once scratches widen, they trap further particles as well as pollutants that can corrode paint as well.
- Dry Your Car After Washing. While it’s tempting to use the old “highway air’ method of drying, keep in mind that such passive drying methods leave a mineral residue that can dull your paint’s appearance.
- Be Smart Removing Exterior Deposits. Deposits on your car’s exterior are often removed by scratching. This can cause pitting, as well as scratch the surrounding paint. Instead, use a clay auto detailing bar, which gently removes the deposit without damaging the underlying surface.
- Wax Your Car. A quality car wax is the closest equivalent of sunscreen for your vehicle. Think of it this way: Any layer of material you can place between your vehicle and the sun and other elements is worth applying. If you need a recommendation for a quality wax, just ask a Golden Triangle Auto Care staff member.
- Check Your Tire Pressure. Not only is the sun harsh on your interior and exterior surfaces, but it leaches air from your tires, on the order of about 1.5 pounds per month. While it’s always important to regularly check your tire pressure, it’s particularly key during the warm and hot months, when your pressure can dwindle significantly and increase the risk of a blowout.