Florida is a beautiful place to live, but it can be brutal on your vehicle. High humidity, frequent rain, and harsh sunlight can all prematurely age your car or truck’s appearance. If left unchecked, they can also damage your vehicle’s structure. Luckily, there are many ways to protect your ride from these elements. We’ll show you the most popular in this article.
What is it about Florida?
Florida is simultaneously one of the sunniest and rainiest places in the United States. Orlando receives nearly 3000 hours of sunshine per year, but also 135 days of precipitation. The state experiences 1.2 million lightning strikes annually, along with thousands of thunderstorms and even an occasional hurricane or two.
This unique climate is heavily influenced by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Being surrounded by subtropical water on three sides helps make winter in this state very mild. Combined with warm but not extreme summer temperatures, the ocean helps to raise the state’s annual average temperatures. In fact, seven of the 10 highest average annual temperatures in the United States have been recorded in Floridian cities.
Maintaining a car in this kind of environment can be challenging. Not only are the paint and interior subject to fading and wear due to intense sunshine and frequent torrential thunderstorms, but the frame, engine, and tires can be damaged as well. Anyone who owns a vehicle here needs to know how to avoid climate-related damage.
Rust never sleeps
The warm, moisture-laden air characteristic of Florida’s climate can be a problem for vehicle chassis and body panels. Humidity and dew are the most significant environmental factors in corrosion because they accelerate metal oxidation. Vehicles that spend most of their time near the ocean have roughly three to five years before rust begins to appear. Corrosion can appear on parts as small as bolts and screws, and they should be replaced as soon as possible.
Speaking of rust, you’ll want to avoid driving on the beach. Sand can scratch paint and get lodged in undercarriage components that need to remain free of friction. And, of course, salt water is probably the worst thing for your car’s frame. If you absolutely can’t resist a beach drive, thoroughly rinse the underside of your vehicle once it cools.
You can fight rust by washing and waxing your vehicle regularly. Washing helps remove dust, dirt, and even sand to prevent scratches and dulling of the paint. Waxing also protects against intense sunlight by creating a protective barrier. Try to apply wax when the temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees and keep it out of direct sunlight while it dries.
Avoiding the hot seat
Another place to treat is the vehicle’s interior. On a Floridian summer day, your dashboard and seats can reach almost 200 degrees. That’s hot enough to fry an egg (or a leg, if you sit on leather seats with shorts on!). Needless to say, repeated cycles of extreme heat can destroy the inside of your vehicle.
The easiest solution is to keep the sunlight from getting inside your car in the first place. If you have access to a garage or a shaded area, park there instead of in an open lot. If you don’t, use a windshield visor to block ultraviolet damage and interior heating. Clean your dashboard and seats with a conditioner often to prevent dust particles from scratching them over time.
Finally, check under the hood to make sure your fluid levels are adequate. Hot weather means it’s easier for your car to overheat from too much friction (oil, transmission and power steering fluid), or not enough coolant (radiator). Check your battery also, as running air conditioning constantly can wear it down faster. You don’t want to get stranded!
We love cars at Auto Market of Florida. With over 100 vehicles in our inventory, we’re certain you’ll find one you love at payments you can afford. Serving the Kissimmee/Orlando area, we look forward to seeing you. Stop by for a test drive.