Life in the desert can be rough. Just ask Wile E. Coyote. But next to the roadrunner, your biggest enemy is the sun. The ultraviolet light and the heat both do damage. The sun is tough on your car, inside and out. The sun oxidizes the paint and cracks and chips the interior surfaces.
Doing something now to prevent the damaging effects of Phoenix’s heat can preserve your car’s appearance and value while preventing the need for expensive repairs later on. Here are a few tips that might not keep you out of the way of an Acme anvil on the head, but will help your car through the ordeal.
Maintain the Battery
The desert heat will drain your battery faster than other climates, especially if your battery is old. If you’re driving a used Dodge Durango in Phoenix, check the battery regularly and keep the top of it clean.
It doesn’t rain much in Phoenix, so your Ford won’t have the same opportunity to be splattered with mud as in Seattle, but dust and sand on the surface of your paint job can erode the topcoat. When it does rain – and it can come down in buckets during the monsoon season – the water can mix with dust and leave water spots on the paint. Wash your car regularly to keep it looking nice.
Add a coat of wax for additional protection from the sun’s rays and elements. Twice a year, in spring and fall, should be enough.
Parking in the shade will not only keep the sun’s direct rays off your paint, it will also keep the inside temperatures lower. Lower interior temperature translates into longer life for your vinyl and leather.
Consider getting a cover for your Chevy if you don’t have a shady place to park near work or home. A blanket will protect your paint on the outside and upholstery on the inside. It will also avoid the agony of sitting on a sun-heated seat with unprotected legs – something you will only do once in your life unless you are a really slow learner.
If you must park in the sun, buy a windshield sunshade to keep the sun off the dash. It will protect your steering wheel and center console as well as keep the interior temperature down. Consider keeping a couple of hand towels inside for covering the steering wheel and the seat when parked. It will keep the surfaces cooler so you don’t have to wait for them to cool down before you drive.
Sunglasses for your car – tinted glass – will keep down the heat and UV exposure. In addition, it will cut glare, which can be brutal when the sun is low on the horizon. Be sure they meet Arizona laws.
Crack the windows
Leaving the windows open just a smidge can have a dramatic effect on keeping the interior temperatures under control. Every little trick helps.