How Our SoCal Climate Can Damage Your Car
Southern California is an enormous playground for you and your car. Who can resist driving through fresh pine air in the mountains, cruising with wind-whipped hair down Pacific Coast Highway, or tearing up a hot asphalt highway on the way to the next bustling city? Our weather is the envy of the world — But did you know it poses long-term risks to your favorite ride? Below are some common SoCal climate conditions that can deteriorate your car, and steps you can take to protect it.
Rust and corrosion are significant threats to long-term car maintenance. How quickly and how much your car rusts depends on the amount of moisture in the air, or the air’s Relative Humidity (RH). RH levels below 40% can dry out leather and wood, causing them to crack. Levels above 60% foster mites, molds, mildews, and — you guessed it — rust. Our SoCal climate treats us to dry hot days and humid cooler nights… Great for us humans, but not so much for our four-wheeled counterparts. These constant RH fluctuations can warp wood and leather and corrode metal.
The storage industry standard RH level is 55%. A dehumidifier unit can keep your vehicle storage space moist enough to prevent drying and cracking, yet too dry for critters and rust to cause problems.
Ultra Violet rays from direct sunlight can cause exterior-facing components of your car to fade in color. That means if you often leave your car outside in the sun, you may notice a bleached effect on your dashboard, steering wheel, tires, upholstery, and paint.
- Cover your windshield and windows with reflective covers.
- Apply Paint Protection Film (PPF) to top-facing areas of your vehicle. (Bonus! PPF will also protect your paint from rock chips and other small debris on the road)
- Be sure to wax your car once every 2-3 months. A nice coat will prevent UV rays from bleaching your sweet paint job.
3. Beach Air
An inevitable pile of sand in your floorboard isn’t the end of your worries after a trip to the beach. Microscopic chunks of salt flying through the coastal air lodge themselves in your car’s nooks and crannies. Oxidation (aka rusting) is accelerated by the presence of salt, and it isn’t just the body of your car that’s at risk of rusting. Even though auto manufacturers coat newly-made vehicles with anti-corrosive primer, rocks and other road debris can nick your car’s undercarriage and expose metal to the salty air. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my brake calipers to corrode and fall apart when I need them!
- Wash your car at least 2-3 times a month to remove salt before it can cause any damage.
- Waxing is even more crucial to your car’s health if you find yourself driving by the beach often. Its body and paint are porous, meaning there are microscopic craters on its surfaces. Wax fills those craters before harmful road bits like dirt, rocks, bugs, and especially salt can get in there and fester.
Humidity, sunlight, and the beach air often exacerbate each other in a trifecta of auto havoc. In any long-term auto storage situation, climate-controlled storage really is the best option to keep your car in prime condition. It’s why car storage services exist! Check out our Services page to see how we keep your toy clean and ready to roll at a moment’s notice.