Its summer! Protect your car’s AC, paint, tyres, engine and interiors

It’s the summer of 2015, the time when your car turns into an oven if it is parked in the sun. Along with the heat, the car too will slowly degrade – the paint will fade, the plastics will warp and UV rays will do plenty of damage. But not if you follow these five handy tips to protect your car from the torrid summer.

Also read:

How to keep your car cool in summer

How to increase the effectiveness of your car AC

If you want your car to give you trouble-free performance all through summer and survive the heat intact, here are some things to check with your car.

Essential checks under the bonnet


Just before the onset of summer it is a good idea to get your car serviced. Top off all essential fluids, especially the engine coolant. Check the condition of all rubber hoses in the engine – looking for cracks or signs of decay. Check the condition of the fan belt. Don’t forget to check and top-up distilled water in the battery as the hot summer sun and the additional heat in the engine can evaporate battery water.

Protect the paint


The UV rays in summer can ruin a car’s finish over the years. Teflon coating and paint protection is something that can delay the process, but these expensive coatings don’t have a long life span, wearing off in about three months. Instead, what really works well in the long-term to protect a car’s finish is good old wax polish, applied liberally once a month. Just remember to apply the polish in the early hours of the morning or late evening – don’t do it in hot sun, as the polish won’t be as effective and you will risk getting a heat stroke as well.

Check the air-conditioning system


The car’s air conditioning system will be the most loved feature of your car all through summer. Make sure it is in great shape. In cities where there are extremes of temperature, the air conditioning isn’t used all through winter and then called upon to do extreme duty in summer. Over a period of time, the effectiveness of the air conditioning reduces. Before summer, clean the AC filter, get the condenser fins pressure washed and check the cooling of the AC. If you think it is ineffective, or hear hissing sounds, go to an AC technician – there could be a leak in the system, which would need to be traced and AC refrigerant would need topping up. Most car dealerships offer a full car AC service for under Rs. 2,000.

Protect the interiors


If the outside temperature is about 40 degrees Celcius, the interiors could reach nearly 70 degrees Celcius if the car is parked in the summer sun. Since security is an issue, most people keep windows fully closed, adding to heat build-up inside the cabin. UV rays play havoc with the dashboard plastics, leading them to fade and warp over time, also releasing carcinogenic chemicals. To prevent this, use sun shades to cover the windows of the car when parked. Keep a few wet hand towels in the car, draped over the steering wheel and gear knob to prevent extreme heat build-up in these areas. Use a good dashboard protecting polish to prevent fading and cracking due to UV rays.

Protect the tyres


Tyres are a crucial safety component of the car. In summer, tyres can be subject to quite a lot of stress owing to the heat. Inspect your tyres and keep them at optimum tyre pressure. Remember, the hot sun can increase tyre temperature and consequently tyre pressures, increasing chances of a blowout. Low tyre pressure can lead to higher heat build up due to friction. Tyres kept exposed to the sun for long develop cracks in the rubber, weakening its structure. Inspect your tyres regularly and check tyre pressures regularly. If you have an SUV with a rear door mounted spare tyre, get a spare wheel cover for it.