Many people make an effort to protect their clothes, household goods, and other possessions against seasonal weather — our vehicles should be no different. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, 23% of all yearly car accidents are weather-related. This is why it’s important to be prepared and put measures in place to protect your vehicle during each season. Both hot and cold weather can add extra wear to the interior and exterior of your car alike.
1. Hot Weather
A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health found that, during heat waves, the risk of car accidents rose 2.9% in studied areas, including California. High temperatures can affect your car’s performance, and certain car parts, such as your tires and your engine, disproportionately. Here’s how you can prepare your car/truck for hot weather phenomena.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Hot tires on hot pavement can increase your likelihood of blowouts. This is because heat causes expansion, meaning that your tire pressure may rise quickly in hot weather. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on your tire pressure during the summer, checking it about once a month. Carrying a spare tire and tools can help you in the event that you do have a heat-inspired blowout.
Coolant reduces the likelihood of your engine overheating, and low coolant levels in high-temperature weather and climates can kill your engine completely. Your car may have a coolant light warning on the dashboard that will tell you when you need to top off. If not, you can get it checked at most oil change shops. You can also get a coolant that is specifically designed for summer weather.
Change Your A/C Filter
Due to the increased use of your car’s A/C system in warmer months, your car’s A/C filter is liable to collect more dust and dirt particles during the spring and summer. Dirty A/C filters can make your A/C underperform, and circulate dust and other allergens back into your car. On average, you should change your cabin A/C filter once a year.
Use a Sun Shade
A sunshade for your windshield is a cheap and easy way to protect your car from heat. This shade can keep your car’s interior temperature cooler and reduce wear, such as cracking and bleaching, of the interior upholstery.
2. Cold Weather
Cold weather can also pose harsh risks to your vehicle’s performance and increase your car or truck’s risk of damage. Freezing temperatures, snow, and poor road conditions can cause internal and external damage to your vehicle if left improperly stored.
Park Under Cover
The easiest way to protect your car/truck from snow and ice is to reduce the direct exposure your vehicle receives from the elements. You can do this by parking your vehicle in a personal or community garage, or car or truck storage. Parking under fully-sheltered options like these allows for storage features such as increased security, complete climate shelter, and private access. If you don’t have access to full cover, then you might consider investing in partial-cover options, such as a semi-permanent carport or awning. Partial cover options are less private and secure, however, they may be less expensive in the long run, as there are no maintenance fees associated with purchasing one for yourself.
Top Off Internal Fluids
Coolant is also crucial for your engine in the winter. Coolant helps keep your engine and engine parts from freezing in below-freezing temperatures. You can buy coolant specifically designed for winter weather. Additionally, winter windshield wiper fluid also prevents the lines and nozzles from freezing, which can help prevent wiper damage associated with the blades freezing to your windshield, or the internal mechanisms freezing.
Get Snow Tires
If you live in a place that gets heavy snow, snow tires are a great investment for your car/truck. These tires are specifically designed to increase your traction on snow and ice and can help you reduce your risk of snow-related road accidents.
Use a Vehicle Cover
If you are having trouble finding vehicle storage near you, then consider getting a car or truck cover. This can keep snow and ice from settling on the body of your vehicle, causing damage or wear to the exterior. A car or truck cover can be especially useful if you don’t plan on using the vehicle often during the winter season. You can also purchase truck bed covers that allow you to use your truck bed without having to worry about anything you’re hauling getting snowed on.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Getting stranded on the road is never fun, but in winter it poses real dangers to you and your vehicle, due to freezing temperatures and the possibility of emergency vehicles being delayed by weather. As the weather starts to turn, make sure you have the following in your car/truck:
- Spare tire;
- Tire chains;
- Jumper cables/jump start battery;
- Flashlight/road flares;
- Non-perishable snacks.
You don’t have to have access to a garage in order to ready your vehicle for the weather. Exploring the vehicle storage options near you or doing the necessary prep work can help you protect your car against the seasons. Weatherizing your car properly can lengthen the life of the vehicle, and save you money on costly repairs or replacements.