How To Fight Extreme Heat Damage To These Three Areas Of Your Vehicle

When you live in a warm southern climate, you rarely, if ever, need to worry about frozen wiper blades or scraping ice or snow from your car. But, you do need to worry about the effects the sun and high temperatures have on your vehicle's battery, interior, and windshield. Here are several ways the heat and sunshine can damage your vehicle's battery, interior, and windshield and how you can combat it.

Battery Damage

Some think that extremely cold temperatures do most of the damage to your vehicle's battery because so many of them stop working during winter's cold temperatures. Extreme heat can greatly reduce the life of your vehicle's battery. And, compared to the effects of heat, cranking your battery to start your vehicle only puts minimal stress on it.

The life expectancy of modern starter batteries for vehicles have increased over the years so they can hold up better in hot climates. In 1962, a starter battery only lasted 34 months, and in 2010 a starter battery lasted for 55 months. 

Although batteries are being built to last longer under extreme temperature conditions, the outdoor heat can still decrease your battery's life. For every 22 degrees F the temperature increases above 77 degrees F, your battery's life will be cut in half. So, if you live in a desert climate where temperatures are constantly elevated in the 90s F, your battery will only last approximately 22 1/2 months. 

If you live in a warmer climate, the best way to deal with the heat declining your battery's live is to check your battery's power every six months with a voltmeter. You will know when it is still operating at an optimal level of 12.4 volts and above and when you need to replace it.

Windshield Damage

If your windshield has any rock chips or cracks on its surface, the extreme heat from the sun can expand your windshield. Then, the cold air conditioned air inside your vehicle cools and contracts the inside of your windshield, making the cracks grow larger.

Also, when you leave your car parked in direct sunlight, the heat can build up inside your sealed vehicle, causing the heat expansion to put pressure on the crack or chip on the outside of your windshield. This can cause the crack to grow larger. 

To prevent a crack from growing, you can leave your windows open one or two inches to reduce some of the heated pressure in your car. You can also park in the shade. It is best to get the cracks and chips filled before they grow beyond 12 inches and can be too large to repair. If they have grown too large to repair, you will need to replace the entire windshield.  You can visit to learn more about when a windshield should be repaired or replaced. 

Interior Damage

When the sun's rays shine through your vehicle's windshield, the windshield can act as a magnifying glass. This increases the heat of the inside air and the heat on your vehicle's surfaces. The dashboard, steering wheel, and console all get a high amount of glare and heat while your car is parked outside. Over time this causes cracks, peeling, and fading on your vehicle's surfaces. 

To combat the heat, it is a good idea to set up a sun visor inside your vehicle's windshield while it is parked in the sun. This will help reduce a large amount of the UV rays shining on your car's interior. You can order a custom-fit sun shade that will fit the contours of your windshield, blocking the light and UV rays from entering. Or, you can have your windows tinted according to your state's tinting laws. 

There have been discussions whether it is better to leave your vehicle's windows cracked or closed to keep the inside temperature lowered while the vehicle sits in the sun. A rudimentary, but interesting study was completed to test this theory. It was found that if you are making a short 10 to 15 minute stop, it is best to leave your vehicle's windows rolled up to keep the cool air conditioned air inside the vehicle. When you park your vehicle for longer, opening your windows a couple inches can relieve some internal vehicle pressure, but does not make any noticeable difference with the temperature inside your vehicle.

Be sure to do all you can to fight the sun's damage to your vehicle's battery, interior, and windshield.