We all know that winter can be a big threat to the safety and shine of our classic cars, but what about the summer. Surely when the sun’s out, the weather gods are forgiving and your American beauty is golden until the next hint of foul weather, right?
Sadly, not so much.
The best thing about the summer is the sunshine and that is also the worst thing about summer as far as your car is concerned.
Threat #1: Fading From Ultraviolet Rays
Thanks to strong public health campaigns, most everyone knows that ultraviolet rays from the sun damage you skin. That’s why we wear sunscreen and hats in an effort to prevent skin cancer.
So how do you prevent skin cancer in your car?
Protect it from the ultraviolet rays.
Skin cancer in your car comes in the form of bubbling paint, fading and oxidizing. If you think of your classic car’s paint job as its skin, you can imagine what sitting in the hot sun for days on end will do to your car.
Baking in the summer sun will promote oxidation of the paint, leaving your car looking dusty and faded. In extreme summer heat, the paint may even bubble or flake.
You can help protect your paint by keeping your car inside a climate controlled garage as much as possible. When that isn’t possible, be sure to wash and wax your car often so the wax can provide a protective layer against the sun.
If you’re going to be parked in the sun for extended periods of time, it’s also a good idea to consider sun shades for both the front and rear windshields. Not only will this help keep the car coolers, it will help prevent sun fading of the upholstery, preserving more of the value of your classic car.
Threat #2: The Droppings from the Sky
Bird droppings and insects smashed against your car can also wreak havoc on your classic car’s paint job. While choosing to park your antique car under a tree may prevent some of the sun damage, it can lead to more trouble with acidic bird droppings on your paint job.
If your car has become the local flocks toilet of choice, be sure to wash off the bird droppings as soon as possible and replenish the wax to help prevent future damage.
Threat #3: Road Construction
Summer road construction poses a threat to your antique vehicle in a number of ways. First, there are the construction vehicles hauling gravel and other materials for the road base. Flying gravel can crack a windshield or scratch even the most lovingly cared for paint job.
Second, there’s the question of hot tar and asphalt. When a road is freshly paved, the hot asphalt can be thrown up underneath your car, creating a sticky mess that is both difficult to remove and potentially damaging. When possible, avoid freshly paved areas.
And third, road construction poses a threat because of other drives.
No matter how many times they’ve been asked to slow down, merge early and pay attention in construction zones, there is always at least one other driver whose doing something other than paying attention to driving and cuts people off or slams on their brakes in a construction zone. These people are probably the biggest summer hazard for your classic car.