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6 ways to protect your car in a heat wave

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

South Africa has seen some seriously hot weather these last few months, and it’s affecting everyone and everything, from your home’s roof, to your pets, to your car.

Summer is the time of the year when everything seems to come alive and everyone is vibrant; it coincides with our year-end holidays as well as the new year, and it’s a time for new beginnings.

But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Sometimes it’s hail and heat waves, and each year, people find themselves using their comprehensive car insurance to make claims for hail damage. But did you know that the heat can be just as damaging to your car? Your tyres, battery, and paint are all affected by the scorching weather conditions.

That’s why we’ve put together some of the ways the sun can damage your vehicle, and how you can protect it.

1. Tyres

When it’s hot, your tyre pressure may increase, so it’s important to check the pressure regularly. Many modern cars will tell you when this needs to be checked, but if yours doesn’t, opt for making sure once a month. However, don’t check after you have driven a far distance as the friction of the tyres on the road, plus the hot road itself, may cause the pressure gauge to show an inflated reading.[1]

2. Battery

Heat causes the battery fluid to evaporate, which damages its internal structure.[2] While there isn’t too much you can do about keeping your battery cool, you can make sure to keep it in good condition throughout the year. Here are some ways to do that:

• Ask your mechanic to check that the battery is charging properly, because over- and under-charging can damage it.

• Use a good quality battery that comes with a warranty.

• Keep it clean on top, because dirt can act as a conductor which will drain the battery’s power.[3]

3. Paint and upholstery

Leaving your car in the sun without shade will certainly damage your car’s paint and upholstery, as well as the rubber and plastic trim, leaving it faded and cracked. Indeed, when the weather is hot enough, it can create a greenhouse effect that will heat up your car to a temperature that is much higher than what it is outside, which can also damage your dashboard. So, even on a cool day, it’s a good idea to park your car under a shaded area or, if you don’t have access to one, use a car cover.[4]

4. Windscreen

If you’ve got even the smallest crack in your windscreen, it may worsen and spread in extreme heat, which will not only reduce your visibility, but it can be dangerous for you and your passengers due to it potentially imploding.[5] If you do see a crack, have it repaired as soon as possible.

5. Air conditioning

To many people, a car’s air conditioning is the most important part of a journey during a heat wave, but when temperatures are extreme, your air conditioner may struggle to keep up with the heat outside. To help it perform properly, have your filters and air con gas checked.

6. Overheating

The heat can cause your vehicle’s fluids to dry up, and if you don’t replace the water and coolant levels, your engine could overheat. During the hot summer months, make sure to check your coolant and water levels regularly, and keep an eye on your car’s temperature gauge as you drive.

Whether it is hail, a heat wave, or a rainy day, Dialdirect’s comprehensive car insurance makes it easy for you to drive stress-free by providing our automatically included Assist Benefits, such as our Medical, Trauma, and Legal Assist.

If you’re not yet a client, you can get a car insurance quote online anywhere, anytime and enjoy these wonderful benefits.

[1] http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/you-can-blame-the-weather-on-t/41518

[2] http://www.carcare.org/2012/03/hot-weather-the-true-culprit-behind-car-battery-trouble/

[3] http://www.carcare.org/2014/07/feeling-the-summer-heat-your-cars-battery-is-too/

[4] http://www.examiner.com/article/top-five-ways-the-heat-affects-your-car-and-what-to-do-about-it

[5] http://www.examiner.com/article/top-five-ways-the-heat-affects-your-car-and-what-to-do-about-it