If you’re a car owner, you probably know what to do when your car gets damaged in an accident or requires routine maintenance. After all, these are basic procedures you need to learn about before you even purchase a car.
But something that catches thousands of car owners off guard every year is damage and maintenance that comes from extreme weather. While you may not have experienced any extreme weather damage to your car yet, if you live in or visit an area that’s prone to certain weather conditions, it may be smart to look into it. This includes hail storms, extreme winds, flooding, and in some cases, fire.
Below are three types of extreme weather conditions to look out for, and what you should do to keep your car in good shape when they occur.
Hail storms are incredibly common in the United States’ central region, which includes Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma. If you’ve ever lived or currently reside in any of these states during hail season, you would know this.
Hail storms can actually cause a lot of damage to your car — and the stones don’t have to be massive to do it. In fact, hailstones the size of a quarter are enough to cause considerable damage, like dents and broken windows.
If you have time to do so safely, you can prevent hail damage by tucking your car away into a place where it’s protected from the hail. This could be a garage, carport, awning, or a gas station with a canopy. The side of a building that’s opposite the hail’s direction can also be a good hiding place if you’re in a hurry. You can also cover your car with a hail protector, heavy blankets, or cardboard.
If a hailstorm catches you by surprise, there are still ways to get auto hail repair. PDR, or paintless dent repair, is a method of minimally invasive dent repair that is ideal for fixing numerous small dents, like the ones caused by hail. It works by removing a panel from a car and pushing out the dent from the inside, so it doesn’t require fillers or repainting, which can help you save money and retain your car’s value.
While strong winds usually happen in conjunction with hail or rainstorms, they can also happen on their own. The extent of damage depends on the severity of the weather conditions for example, strong winds in a desert environment can pelt sand on your car, which can damage your glass and paint. It can also damage your car internally by clogging your air filters and interfering with your pulley system.
Wind can also throw around much larger debris: sticks, branches, and even rocks can cause far more immediate damage than sand. It’s crucial that your car is protected when these risks are presented. You can accomplish this by parking your garage in an enclosed shelter, such as a garage. If you don’t have a garage, you can use a carport. As a last resort, use thick padding or blankets to soften the blow of the hailstones.
Damage from flooding can sometimes be unavoidable, but it’s important to do what you can if you have the opportunity. Flooding can damage many components within your car, including the electrical system, engine, lubricants, and even safety features such as airbags.
In fast-moving water, you may even risk your car completely floating away or getting crushed by large pieces of debris like trees, fences, or other cars.
To protect your car from flooding, try to place it in a high area that’s above the water level. Your car may be more secure in an area that has a sturdy foundation that won’t crumble under heavy rains — like a concrete parking lot instead of a dirt parking lot.
If your car does sustain damage from flooding, repairs will vary depending on what kind of damage it has sustained. It’s important to avoid turning the engine on or using the car immediately after water damage. Otherwise, water may go deeper into your car and cause permanent damage. Instead, call a mechanic to inspect and fix the car before you use it.
Extreme weather happens everywhere, so it’s important to know the kind of weather your region is prone to. Knowing how to prevent and deal with car damage caused by extreme weather phenomena is also helpful. If your vehicle experiences weather-related damage, like hail damage on a car, consult a mechanic on the next steps as soon as you can to avoid any more problems.