How to Protect Your Car from Weather-Related Damage

July 20th, 2015 by

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It’s impossible to prevent your vehicle from facing the elements. Whether it’s 90 degrees or it’s below freezing, some part of your car is going to be vulnerable. While slight damage is basically inevitable, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of some useful strategies to minimize the potential harm.

Instead of having to visit your local auto body shop in Albany, New York every couple of months, take the lessons below and include them in your general car maintenance. It could ultimately save you some money in the long run…

Heat

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Anything that sits outside during a warm summer day is going to begin showing signs of wear. This is especially true to cars and their various components. Not only does the sun have an impact on your car’s paint and mechanicals, but it can also have a negative effect on your car’s interior!

When it comes to protecting your exterior, there’s no way to prevent damage entirely. It’s obvious to prioritize parking in a shaded area, but there are other small tips you can utilize to protect your car’s body. Washing the car is always a good idea, as it gets rid of all the grime that has compiled over time. Waxing is also worth your time, as it’ll protect the car’s paint from the elements.

The same thing goes for your car’s internal system, as there’s no absolute way to prevent damage from the heat. You’ll want to consistently check that everything, especially your cooling level and transmission fluid, is operating in tip-top-shape. Make sure your car always has enough oil, and assure that your tires are properly inflated.

You’ll want to follow a similar strategy in regards to your car’s interior. Keeping the car clean will prevent the objects from melting, and throwing out rotting food will eliminate the nasty smell. You can coat your interior with protectants, and you can opt to put a large reflecting panel on your windshield. This will keep your car considerably cooler while also protecting the interior from sun damage.

If you’re forced to park in a sunny area, Ronald Agrella of Insuramatch.com suggests facing the rear of your car towards the sun. This will lessen the heat damage to the dashboard (and all the instruments it covers). The writer also suggests keeping the windows open a little bit, as long as you trust the area, of course.

Cold

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Even without the snow, cold weather can cause a number of problems to your car. Some of your vehicle’s essential parts seemingly stop working when the temperature drops below zero, with the battery being particularly prone to failure. The best way to assure that your battery will continue working is to have it checked prior to the winter months. If your battery already seems unhealthy, you can be proactive and get it fixed, thus preventing a non-working car in the middle of the winter.

“A typical battery can last an average of about three years and usually can handle the cold,” Tom Deutcsh of Lindenhurst Long Island Firestone Complete Auto Care told Jenna Abate of AccuWeather.com. “Extreme cold pulls voltage from a battery, making it harder for your car to start. A typical battery is most comfortable between 30 and 90 F, so anything below that lower end will give you trouble.”

Your car’s fluids, including the oil, antifreeze, power steering, and brake and transmission fluids, will likely thicken as it gets colder, and this could have a devastating effect on your transmission. Like the issues mentioned previously, this is unavoidable. However, continually checking your fluids could prevent an issue.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping track of your tires’ pressure. As Bridgestone Winter Driving School director Mark Cox told Abate, many tires will lose one pound per square inch for every 10 degree drop in temperature. Besides the obvious damage an under-inflated tire can cause to your car, in can also be a huge safety hazard. Being cognizant of your tires pressure if always a good idea, regardless of the weather.

Snow

a car covered in a layer of fresh snow

a car covered in a layer of fresh snow

We know the effects that snow can have on operating a vehicle, but could snow damage a stationary car? The simple answer is yes.

Snow could lead to the same types of damages as rain, especially in regards to the car’s finish. Hard ice could cause particular body damage, and the salt on the ground certainly doesn’t help the paint. It’s not as easy to wash off your car in the middle of the winter, but taking it through the car wash every week or so will at least help in preventing exterior damage.

Of course, the melting snow could also result in rust. When this rust is left untreated, severe damage, including holes and cracks, can occur. You won’t be able to prevent the snow and water from getting to your metallic car parts, but you can reduce the risk.
For instance, it’s significantly better to park in an opening parking space than a space with a mound of snow. If that pile of snow is rubbing up against the bottom of your car, you should anticipate some sort of rust. When it comes to specific parts of the car that should be protected, focus on the brakes. There’s no question that these are essential when it the roads get icy.

If your car is completely buried in snow (as some of you may have experienced during this past winter), there’s no reason to panic. The weight of the snow will have little effect on your car, and the clean melting snow is significantly better than the salt-infused melting snow on the street.

Rain

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People may think a nice rainfall is washing off their car, but it might actually be making it dirtier! Rain will collect various elements and pollutants as it falls, and those elements and pollutants will fall on to your vehicle. Once the water evaporates, only the bad stuff is left over. This can cause considerable damage to your car’s finish, and the only way to remove those pesky stains is by using a polisher and buffing pads.

It may sound a little silly, but washing off your car following a rainstorm can do a great deal. This will get all those contaminants off your car, preventing any damage to the paint.

When the raindrops contain an excess amount of pollutants, it’s referred to as acid rain. This could do greater damage to your car’s finish, and you could see the wear develop considerably quicker. Sometimes this wear is permanent, as the scars left over from the acid can’t be polished off.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is the water damage to areas of the car that aren’t included in the exterior. Driving through a giant puddle may not seem significant, but that water could have creeped it’s way up to your engine. Furthermore, you’ve likely seen how water and electricity don’t mix, so imagine what’s happening to your car’s electrical system when water gets it!

 

As you can see, any kind of weather can negatively effect your car. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent this inevitable damage from completely compromising your vehicle.

Of course, sometimes it’s difficult to even exercise one of these strategies, and you may be facing some type of damage. If that’s the case, head over to DePaula Service in Albany and have one of their knowledgeable staff members fix up your car.