Summer is the best, isn’t it? Well … until it’s the worst because of the damage it does to your skin, your lawn, and yes, even your car. Thankfully, there are ways you can minimize heat damage to your car. Check out this guide for protecting it now (and all year long).

1. Protect the interior

Your car feels like a sauna when you open the door on a hot day because of the “greenhouse effect.” Meaning your dashboard, carpet, and other surfaces absorb the sunlight and trap the heat in the car. In fact, your car’s inside temp can soar very quickly.

The fix
Parking in the shade is an obvious solution, but you also might consider shades for your front window and/or window tinting. (Check with your local DMV to make sure it’s legal in your area.) And never, ever leave a child or pet in a hot car.

2. Stay hydrated

Your car is as thirsty as you are when the heat’s on. Whether it’s using oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, or brake fluid, a hot engine is working hard (and burning even more fluids) to keep it cool.

The fix
Make sure all fluids are properly topped off to your manual’s specifications. Your car might well burn through more of them in the summer, on a road trip for example, so be sure to check more frequently than usual and watch your gauges.

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Also, a note of caution: never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot as the pressure and steam can cause harmful burns.

3. Watch for tired tires

Under-inflated tires are more likely to overheat and cause a blowout, and the problem is exacerbated by hot roads.

The fix
Make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure recommended in your owner’s manual.

4. Baby your paint

We all know the expression “sun-bleached.” It’s a thing … and it can happen to your car paint.

The fix
Park your car away from the elements, like in a garage or covered area, whenever possible. Frequent washing can also help clear away the pollution and dirt collected from the roads, and waxing provides a protective layer over the paint.

As you’re protecting your car’s interior and exterior, remember another component of protection: insurance coverage that’s right for you. Get a free quote today.

Not available in all states. Policies underwritten by Esurance Insurance Company and its affiliates: San Francisco, CA.

Safe and smart | Car safety

about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.