You do your best to prep your car for the cold and ice of winter, but what about the dog days of summer? Don’t let the cheery weather fool you: bright, warm summer days can pose real problems for your car, inside and out. Pay attention to the following do’s and don’ts to head off heat damage, boost your car’s curb appeal, and keep it looking (and running) newer, longer!
DO: Wash it.
You wash your car to keep it looking sharp, but a good sudsy bath can offer more than just cosmetic benefits. It removes dirt and debris that can cause miniature scratches in the car’s body and wash off other destructive residue, such as bird droppings and dead bugs — the acidic content could discolor your car’s paint job. A good wax can also go a long way in keeping your car looking like it just rolled off the lot. Wax protects the car’s paint against UV rays and keeps roadside grime from sticking to your car.
DON’T: Neglect the interior.
If your vehicle’s interior is dusty, it’s time for some light cleaning. Scorching sunlight can bake the grime right into the car’s dashboard and other surfaces. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to clean things up using everyday household materials like dish soap (to scrub away the muck that collects in the texture of vinyl), baking soda (to clean seat belts), and vinegar (to wipe down the windows). When mixed with water, these household solutions can all play a part in keeping your interior free of baked-in-grime.
As always, though, check with your vehicle manufacturer and conduct your own research before using any cleaning supplies in your vehicle. What’s right for your neighbor’s truck may not be right for your vehicle, and vice versa.
Pro-Tip: Stash a microfiber duster in your car to save time cleaning. A few swipes and swooshes can keep your dash dust-free and looking fine!
DO: Seek shade.
Park in the shade whenever possible. Exposure to the summer sun can fade and crack a car’s paint job, rubber trims and seals, as well as its vinyl or leather seats. If shade isn’t an option, put up sun reflectors in the windows to prevent fading and keep the interior temperature from climbing sky high. Parking your car out of direct sunlight can even help protect your fuel economy, reports 12News, since gas evaporates quicker in a hot vehicle than it does in a cold one.