As the summer heat picks up, it’s important to protect your dashboard and interior from getting damaged by the harsh rays of the sun. UV light is no joke when it comes to the materials that make up your automobile’s cabin. This is especially true if you live in a hot climate, where the sun beats down year-round and the temperatures routinely crest triple digits. Fortunately, there are a number of products and tricks that you can use to ensure your car interior looks great at the end of the summer.
1. Block It If You Can
The simplest method you can use to protect your dashboard and interior is to keep them out of the sun to begin with. There are a number of strategies you can employ to get this done:
- Park indoors or under cover as often as possible.
- Tint your vehicle’s windows to reduce the amount of UV light that enters the cabin.
- If you must park your car unprotected, use a windshield sun shade.
Since your windshield is the largest glass opening, a sun shade creates a barrier between the outside world and your seats and dashboard that can thwart damage.
2. Chemistry to the Rescue
If you can’t use a blocker and don’t have access to indoor parking — or simply want to make sure you protect your cabin while you’re on the road — science offers another option. You can use cleaning products that are formulated to leave behind a chemical barrier on your vehicle’s plastic, vinyl and leather; this barrier prevents the sun from penetrating your upholstery too deeply. Some fabric cleaners also offer similar protection, which is great for carpets, the parcel shelf at the rear of your vehicle and the floor of your SUV’s cargo area.
3. Crack the Windows
With the windows up, your vehicle is like an oven. During peak summer heat, it’s not unheard of for temperatures to climb to nearly the 150-degree-Fahrenheit mark inside a car or truck, due to the greenhouse effect created by the glass. Cracking open a side window or two allows some of that hot air to escape, which makes the heat less punishing on both the materials and glues that hold your interior together.
While you’re trying to stay cool this summer, remember to help your car do the same. Your dashboard and seats will thank you by staying fade-free for many seasons to come.
Check out all the interior products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to protect your dashboard and interior from the heat, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.