We always prepare our car during the rainy or winter seasons because we know that driving in this condition can be damaging to our cars. But did you know that the sun and summer heat can also do as much damage to our cars? This is because cars are not designed to be heatproof. In fact, the temperature in the car’s interior can go up to 145° Fahrenheit and up to 200° Fahrenheit exterior temperature when the car is left under the sun for a long period. That is why it is important that you know how to prepare your car for summer. Preparing cars for summer includes performing under the hood inspections such as checking all the fluids, belts, hoses, battery, and changing air filters. You need to make sure that your cooling system and air conditioning system are functioning properly.
How to prepare your car for summer also includes caring for its exterior such as washing and drying your car often, waxing it, getting paint protection film, and checking the tire pressure regularly. On the other hand, caring for your car’s interior includes wiping off dirt and other particles on your dash and interior, getting the windows tinted, using windshield sun protector, installing seat covers, and using conditioners to protect leather seats. Our cars are considered as investments, which is why we need to protect them as much as we can. In this article, we will discuss all this and more.
How to Prepare Your Car for Summer: How Can I Protect My Car from Summer Heat?
Many people are looking forward to that summer ride, to have fun driving under the sun going to their favorite summer destination. Even though the road and the sky is clear and everything seems perfect, summer and heat can take a toll on your vehicles, if they are not properly taken care of. To take good care of your car and make it “summer ready”, you need to know how to prepare your car for summer in order to protect your car from summer heat.
The checklist on how to prepare your car for summer includes inspecting your car’s components under the hood, making sure that your cooling and air conditioning systems are working properly, and caring for the interior and exterior of your car. Let’s go through each of them so you’ll know how to prepare your car for summer and protect it from summer heat.
UNDER THE HOOD
- Check all the fluids.
The car has many different fluids. All of these fluids work together to make sure that it can run properly and efficiently. The engine and its moving parts can generate a lot of heat under the hood, imagine how much strain will be put on your engine if the sun is also blazing outside. Since the fluids help cool down your engine, checking the fluids is one of the ways on how to prepare your car for summer.
You need to check the oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, and any other fluids. When checking the oil, you need to make sure that its level is not low. If it is low, top it up to the fill line. However, if you notice that your oil has become black or thick, maybe it is due for an oil change. Bear in mind that driving in warmer months can be more laborious for your engine, putting more strain to it. That is why experts are recommending that you should have frequent oil check ups or changes during warmer months.
When it comes to your coolant, you need to make sure that its level is not low since it is the coolant that prevents your car from overheating. If it's low, top it up. Make sure that its appearance is healthy. If you see sludge or small particles floating on your fluid, you need to have your system flushed.
- Check the belts and hoses.
You should check belts and hoses since these parts play a very important role in your car’s cooling system. Belts power your engine water pump and other accessories such as the air conditioning compressor and the alternator. You need to check them so you can replace them when you see any signs of damage such cracks or wears.
On the other hand, hoses are responsible for delivering the car’s fluids to where they should be, to keep your engine from overheating. You should inspect the hoses and check if they have become brittle, worn, or weak. You also need to look for any signs of leaks around the hose clamps, the radiator, and at the water pump. If you notice that the hose is damaged, have it replaced immediately.
- Check the air filters.
Checking the air filters is one of the ways on how to prepare your car for summer. This is because during summer, dirt, dust, and other debris in the environment increases and the air filter is the one responsible for trapping this dirt. You should always have a clean air filter since a clogged or dirty filter can lead to poor fuel economy and engine performance. Replacing your car air filter is pretty simple and cheap, you can easily do it at home using basic tools.
- Check the car battery.
We know that car batteries don’t work well in the cold, but extreme heat can also take a toll on your battery since it can suffer a great amount of pressure due to overcharging and overheating. That is why you need to have your battery checked regularly or every oil change.
- Check the air conditioning system.
You need the car air conditioning system to function properly to ensure that you and your passengers will be comfortable during your summer rides. So before you begin your summer journey, you need to check your air conditioning system first.
You can do a test drive with your AC running. If you notice that your AC is not keeping cool or its cooling capacity has decreased, you might have an issue with its refrigerant charge level or with its compressor. You need to take your car to an auto service shop immediately to get the right diagnosis and to have it corrected.
INTERIOR OF THE CAR
- Cleaning the dashboard.
How to prepare your car for summer includes taking care of your car’s interior and one of the important components of your car is the dashboard. You need to clean it regularly and wipe off any dirt, dust, and other debris. This is because dirt and dust can cause tiny scratches on your dashboard if not cleaned. To clean your dashboard, you can use a microfiber cloth or any soft cloth to remove dust and dirt. You can also polish it with a dash polish to maintain your dashboard’s gloss since it is always exposed to the sun.
- Having your windows tinted.
Having your car windows tinted can be one of the ways on how to prepare your car for summer since it can help reduce the heat. Tinted windows can block the thermal rays that allow sunlight to pass heat. Since the tinted windows block certain wavelengths, it means that it blocks heat but allows the natural light to pass through. But of course, when it comes to tinting your window, you need to check the law in your state to know what tinting percentage is allowed on your car window.
- Using windshield sun protectors.
Windshield protectors can protect your car’s front interior from extreme heat and sun rays, especially your steering wheel and dashboard when your car is parked. This windshield sun protector can prevent cracks and shine loss on your steering wheel and dash. You can also use a rear windshield shade to protect your car’s rear interior.
- Installing seat covers.
Installing seat covers can help protect your car seats against wear and tear and can help your seats cool when driving in summer.
- Use conditioners for the leather seats.
If your car comes with leather seats, you need to protect them during summer since they tend to develop cracks and tears due to the extreme heat of the sun. To protect your leather seats from the sun, you can use a conditioner and apply it regularly to make sure that they are always in good condition.
EXTERIOR OF THE CAR
- Washing the car regularly.
Washing your car regularly is one of the ways on how to prepare your car for summer and protect it. This helps remove debris, build ups, and dead insects that might have stuck on your car’s external surface. If you are not cleaning your car regularly, these particles and build ups might react with the sun’s extreme heat which can lead to your paint to fade and lose its natural shine.
Dead insects can also decompose, releasing acids that can result in further damage to your car’s surface. It is for this reason why you need to wash your car regularly and use cleaning products that are specially made for the car’s exterior. Make sure that you dry it after by using a soft cloth to remove all the remaining dirt.
- Waxing the car.
If people need sunscreen to protect themselves from the sun’s harsh rays, cars also need some protection against the sun. You can protect your car by waxing it. Applying wax on its external surface helps lock in the natural oils with the paint and protects it from the damaging effects of the sun.
- Checking the tires and tire pressure regularly.
You should regularly check all your tires and your spare tire since it is one of the ways on how to prepare your car for summer. You should inspect each one of them and look for any signs of damage such as cuts and sidewall bulges. Check if your tire’s tread as well and if it is wearing thin. If it is, maybe it is time to buy new tires. You should also check your tire air pressure when all the tires are cool and your car has been idle. You can consult your owner’s manual to know the recommended pressure for your car’s tires.
How to Prepare Your Car for Summer: Is it Bad to Park Your Car Outside?
You want to know how to prepare your car for summer to make sure that you won’t have to deal with car issues caused by the summer heat. One way to protect your car from the damaging sun is by parking it under the shade. Many car owners are asking if it is bad to park your car outside, exposed to summer heat. Sun and heat can affect your car negatively. It can cause some damage to it, especially that the rays of the sun can be amplified against the car’s metal exterior.
The sun and heat can affect your car in the following ways.
- When the heat of the sun gets trapped inside the car, it can lead to drying and cracking of the leather seats, steering wheel, dash, and more. It can also cause issues with the car’s electronics.
- Hot air can expand your car’s tires which can cause them to deflate at a faster rate.
- Dark-colored interiors can become damaged due to the sun’s UV rays that have a bleaching effect..
- It can also fade and crack your car’s paint.
- When the weather is extremely hot and you are driving, your car’s engine and transmission can overheat. It can also cause damage to your battery since it has to work harder when you blast your AC.
- Aside from the problems that could happen to your car, intense heat can also cause dehydrations and burns to you and your passengers. Make sure that you always have water with you to keep yourself hydrated all the time
Knowing how to prepare your car for summer ensures that your car is fit enough and ready for your summer rides. You need to make sure that you do all these things, and do them regularly, to make sure that you won’t have to deal with any car issues as you enjoy the summer days and the sun.