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Protecting your car from the summer heat

By Blair Qualey
The summer heat can double the temperature under the hood of your car, which is one of the most common causes for a vehicle to break down.

By Blair Qualey

During the hot summer days, we take steps to protect ourselves from the heat and the negative effects of exposure to the sun. In the same manner, the hot summer weather can take a toll on your car or truck, from the paint right down to the tires, unless you take steps to protect your vehicle.

Much like we protect our skin by applying sunscreen and avoiding too much direct sunlight, the body paint of a vehicle is what suffers the most, if subjected to extended UV exposure. So, park under cover or in shade, when possible, during the daytime heat of the summer months.

Additionally, using wax and polish with UV protection can help reduce damage. With leather in vehicles, regular cleaning and conditioning of the leather adds further protection from UV damage and if you have cloth seats, a variety of fabric guard products are available. Window tinting can also be helpful in keeping your vehicle cooler as well as blocking UV rays.

Investing in sunshades is a great option to keep you cooler when you get behind the wheel and also protects your dash and other areas of your interior from sun damage. Likewise, a good trick for cooling your car faster during an unbearably hot day is to roll down the windows and wait a few minutes, so that the car’s interior temperature is the same as outside, and then switch the AC on. This technique significantly reduces the amount of time taken by the AC to cool the cabin.

The summer heat is bound to double the temperature under the hood of your car, which is one of the most common causes for a vehicle to break down. Giving your coolants a routine checkup and being aware of the fluid levels can prevent this. However, remember NEVER open the radiator cap or coolant tank lid when the engine is hot!

Excess heat can reduce battery life and lead to overcharging which can dramatically shorten the lifespan of your battery. In order to avoid this damage, regularly detach the cables and wipe off the terminals – and make sure the battery is strapped down tightly and all connections are secure. If you still suspect your battery is being overcharged or not holding a charge, take it to your dealer where they can run a quick battery inspection.

As the outside temperature climbs, the air in your vehicle tires expands, so check your tire pressure on a regular basis when the tires are at a normal temperature. The recommended tire pressure should be noted in your owner’s manual.

And finally, if you and your family are embarking on a summer road-trip you may want to schedule a service appointment with your new car dealership. It will ensure any potential problems are identified and addressed in advance, giving you peace of mind so you can simply enjoy your travels, wherever they may take you.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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