A record-breaking heatwave hit the Pacific Northwest over the weekend and reached its peak Monday. Temperatures in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle soared to 116 and 106, respectively, topping previous all-time highs – some of which have been set just in the last week. 

As the Pacific Northwest begins to recover, one concern is how that hot weather can affect your car. 

The most important step to take in hotter conditions, are preventative ones so that you can maintain your car rather than repair it.

Here are some of the issues you should be keeping in mind about your car and what you can do about it.

Leather car seats, tires can get destroyed by the heat

If you have a leather interior in your car, sun exposure is one of the causes of leather damage. Prolonged heat can lead to weathered, fading and cracked leather because its naturals oils will diminish and the leather will dry. And the darker the leather, the more it will absorb heat and the faster it will be damaged.

With extreme heat, tire damage can also follow. Tire blowouts are one consequence, especially with high temperatures over time.

Heat can cause tires to build up pressure and with every 10 degrees Fahrenheit tire pressure can increase by 1-2 pounds. The friction between the road and tires, as well as abrupt breaking, can also increase heat and tire pressure. 

The exterior of your car can also be affected by the heat, as it can make the paint crack. Heat can also cause other cosmetic effects to your car including fading the dashboard.

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What you can do

► To prevent damage to leather, you can tint the windows, use sun shields and seat covers and park in shaded areas as often as you can. It’s also helpful to regularly clean the leather so it doesn’t become too dry.

► For tires, it’s important to regularly check the tire pressure and maintain the levels set by your manufacturer. It’s also good to check all your tires for any cracks, lumps or other noticeable differences.

► It’s vital to check your car engine’s liquids, as its systems will be working overtime and can overheat. To avoid this, make sure your car has enough coolant because if it’s running low it can cause systems to overheat and fail. 

► Another fluid to check is the engine oil, which is important to help reduce friction and temperatures in the engine. 

► In order to avoid issues with your car’s paint, you can wash and hand dry your car and wax it to help put a layer of protection in between it and the sun.

While increasing temperatures can’t completely be avoided, taking these steps can help to lessen one worry.

Contributing: Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY

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