Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Car From Sun Damage


We all know that sun exposure can harm our skin, but did you know the sun’s rays can also damage your car? When you leave your car in the sun for extended periods of time, the temperature inside can reach as high as 145 degrees Fahrenheit, while the surface of the car’s exterior can reach much higher – up to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit!

Your car is not immune to negative effects caused by such heat. Here are 10 simple ways to protect your vehicle from sun damage:

1. Regularly check your fluid levels: When it’s hot outside, the fluids in your car can get used up more quickly than under normal circumstances. If you happen to be low on coolant, transmission fluid, or oil anyway, then that suboptimal condition coupled with high temperatures increases the chance of damage to your car.

2. Have your battery tested once or twice each summer: When it’s hot outside, there is often a higher load placed on your car’s battery from running systems like the air conditioning. Periodic testing of your battery and charging system in general prevents you from unpleasant surprises (i.e. the car not starting) on hot days.

3. Get the air filters checked: There is typically more dust and debris circulating in the air during the warmer months, particularly in arid climates, and this can clog the air filters in your car. If this happens, your gas mileage may suffer, and it could even damage your mass air flow sensor, which helps regulate the air and fuel levels in your engine.

4. Use reflectorized sun panels on your front and rear dashes: While it may seem like a hassle to whip these fold-out panels out every time you go to the store, it pays off in the long run. These panels greatly reduce the overall temperature inside your car, which you’ll appreciate when you return, and need to use less air conditioning to cool the car. These panels also help to prevent the bleaching effect the sun has on your interior surfaces and upholstery, which can lower the value of your car should you wish to sell it.

5. Perform tire pressure checks monthly: Extreme heat, trapped air, and rubber can be a volatile combination, and it’s one on which your entire vehicle rests in the summer months. Underinflated tires are more likely to blow out in high temperatures, so prevent accidents (and poor gas mileage) by checking your tire pressure at least once a month. Do this as early in the day as possible when the temperatures are coolest for the most accurate pressure readings.

6. Park smart: If you have the choice between parking your car in the middle of a blazing parking lot or under a broad tree, opt for the shade. This doesn’t require any fancy props and will keep your car’s interior as cool as possible.

7. Regularly clean your car’s interior: The pairing of dust and hot sun can wreak havoc on your interior, essentially caking grime onto your dash and other surfaces. With periodic cleaning, however, this becomes a non-issue; just be sure to use cleaners intended for automobile use to avoid stains and unnecessarily drying out materials at risk of cracking.

8. Wash and hand-dry your car often: Just as dust and debris can cake onto your interior surfaces when exposed to high temperatures, your exterior paint can suffer in the summer sun. Frequently wash your vehicle to keep the surface clean, and dry it thoroughly by hand with a soft cloth, so bits of minerals and grime don’t stick to the residual moisture after a rinse.

9. Use a protective wax: It’s not enough just to clean your car from time to time; you should wax it at least twice a year to lock in the natural oils in the exterior paint and provide a layer of protection not just from grimy bits that can scratch the surface, but also from the sun’s rays.

10. Consider paint protection film: If you truly want to be vigilant against potential sun damage to your car, you may want to invest in a paint protection film kit. Some kits only cover the acrylic headlights, but some kits are available that cover your entire vehicle. If you adopt some or all of these simple tips to provide protection from the hot sun, your car will age more gracefully, much like your skin will with the regular application of sunscreen. They don’t take much effort to implement, and these small actions can save a lot of money down the road and help retain your car’s value over time.

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Buying a Demon Crate

The 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon has an intriguing $1 option — the Demon Crate, which includes branded tools and accessories.

To prevent abuse, the bargain-priced Crate can’t be purchased by dealers when the car is ordered; the customer can only order it 48 hours after taking delivery of the car. The instrument panel badge, personalized with the customer’s name, cannot be changed, and is in the Crate. Customers can only order the Crate if their name matches the one on the order; and they have to order it from the Demon Concierge.

So what does the Crate include?

– Front Runner Drag Wheels
– High Octane Engine Calibration
– Passenger Mirror Block-Off Plate
– Performance Air Filter (Demon-branded)
– Trunk Foam Case (Demon-branded)
– Fender Cover (Demon-branded)
– Personalized instrument panel badge
– Shipping crate (Demon-branded)
– Demon-branded tools in a bag: torque wrench, extension, and socket; cordless impact wrench; hydraulic floor jack and carrying bag; and tire pressure gauge.

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Community Car Care Events Show Most Vehicles Need Service

Community car care events conducted across the country reveal that the majority of vehicles need service on one or more inspected areas of the vehicle.

“At the Car Care Council, we stress the importance of preventative vehicle maintenance and provide free tools, tips and information to help motorists become more car care aware so they can avoid the hassle and expense associated with unexpected car trouble,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “By implementing a proactive auto care plan, car owners can identify and fix small issues now before they become more costly repairs later.”

The community car care event inspections checked a variety of vehicle components including wipers, belts, hoses, air filters, lighting, tires and lubricant/fluids. The Car Care Council gathered and tabulated the results and found that eight out of 10 vehicles need some type of service. The top areas showing the highest failure rates include:

– Engine Oil – 22 percent of vehicles tested had low, overfull or dirty oil.
– Belts/Hoses – inspections revealed 18 percent of belts were unsatisfactory and at least 12 percent of vehicles needed a new hose.
– Air Filters – nearly one out of every five vehicles inspected needed a new air filter.
– Check Engine Light – 14 percent of vehicles had an illuminated check engine light, slightly higher than the previous year’s results.
– Batteries – battery cables, clamps and terminals were found to be in need of repair on 18 percent of vehicles inspected.

The Car Care Council has a free Car Care Guide available at, providing motorists with a useful resource that can be kept in the glove box or accessed online. The guide features service interval information, questions to ask a technician and other helpful auto care information that can help drivers better maintain and protect their vehicle.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at

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This is what the Durango SRT costs

The long-awaited Dodge Durango SRT was recently announced, with all wheel drive and a 475-horsepower 392 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine.

Today, Dodge also announced pricing of the three-row-SUV, which can run 0-60 times of 4.4 seconds and 12.9 second quarter-mile times. The company also revised the towing capacity upwards, by 100 pounds, to 8,700.

The base price will be $62,995 plus $1,095 in destination fees ($64,090), with deliveries starting in the fourth quarter of 2017.

That includes the eight-speed automatic, six-piston front Brembo calipers, four-piston rear calipers, and vented rotors at each wheel (slotted in front). The suspension is augmented by active Bilstein shocks; wheels are 20 x 10 and shod in Pirelli 295/45 Scorpion Verde rubber (with Pirelli P-Zeros optional).

A new SRT seven-mode drive system gives the driver the ability to adjust drive settings for performance or comfort; a new Sport mode cuts shift times in half and sends up to 65% of torque to the rear wheels, and a new Track mode makes shifts even faster and shoves 70% of torque to the back wheels.

Colors are B5 Blue (late availability), Billet, Bruiser Grey, DB Black, Granite, Octane Red Pearl, and White Knuckle. See our full Dodge Durango SRT page for the whole story.

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New Hellcat head badge for 2018

We have been so busy focusing on the new Dodge Demon and the new Widebody package for the Hellcat Challenger that we nearly overlooked a new feature which will apply to all Hellcat cars for 2018 – the slick new 3D Hellcat fender badge, which made its grand debut on the Hellcat Challenger Widebody car.

The 2015-2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat featured the now-familiar Hellcat head badge on the front fenders — a solid piece with slightly raised chrome portions on a black background. During the 2015 and 2016 model years, those fender badges were the only Hellcat heads on the car, while the 2017 Hellcat Challenger and Charger also have the logo next to the SRT badge on the rear spoiler.

The 2018 Hellcat badges are getting their most significant changes, with another Hellcat head being added to the SRT badge on the grille, and a new look for the fender badges. They will not have the black background, opting for an open-back design which gives it more of a 3D look. Rather than the chrome finish, the 2018 Hellcat head has a billet aluminum finish (it is not actually metal), giving it a much tougher look.

In short, the 2018 Dodges take the design of the new Demon fender badge and apply it to the Hellcat fender badge. The result is a far more prominent badge that will stand out against any body color. Having seen these badges in person on the 2018 Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody shown here, I fully expect to see lots of owners of 2015-2017 Hellcat cars swapping for these badges – even if they paint them some other color rather than keeping the billet look.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody is expected to hit dealerships during the third quarter of 2017, so it shouldn’t be more than a few months before these badges are available through your local dealership.

Patrick RallPatrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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Hot Summer Car Care Tips

– Check your fluids and perform regular maintenance.

– Confirm proper tire pressure to avoid a blowout and improve fuel economy.

– Keep yourself cool with a/c and your vehicle cool by parking in the shade.

The arrival of summer marks an ideal time to make sure your car or truck is in good working condition. The high temperatures of summer can be tough on a vehicle – everything from the paint down to the tires is subjected to harsher than normal conditions. Gone unchecked, some issues could leave you stranded in the heat. Here are a few tips to help make sure you and your vehicle are protected against the hazards of summer.

Fluids like coolant, motor oil and windshield washer fluid are things motorists can regularly check on their own. Engine coolant, sometimes called antifreeze, is the number one thing motorists should stay on top of in the summer months. Since modern cars have a closed system for coolant, checking or adding coolant is easy. This is generally done through the coolant reservoir located under the hood. Consult your owner’s manual for a specific location. Be sure the coolant level is between the minimum and maximum markings, adding more if necessary. But never open the radiator cap or coolant tank lid when the engine is hot.

Tire pressure is also important, especially in summer months. As the outside temperature climbs, the air in your car’s tires expands, so check your tire pressure when the tires are at a normal temperature – before you set out on a road trip. Also, be sure to use the proper tire pressure for your car, not the maximum pressure listed on the tire sidewall. Check the recommended tire pressure label in the door jamb or glove compartment, or consult your owner’s manual.

Tires that are over- or underinflated can reduce the vehicle’s handling capability or generate excess heat, causing a blowout. Although most newer cars have an on-board tire pressure monitoring system, get a good quality tire pressure gauge – a dial-type analog unit or digital gauge, not a straight, pen-type one – and check them yourself every few months. Don’t forget to check the pressure in your spare tire, too. It’s like an insurance policy. You never know when you might need it.

Along with the heat, summer also means more long-distance road trips that reveal the high cost of poor fuel economy. So it’s a good time to keep up periodic maintenance like oil and filter changes and inspection or replacement of the air cleaner and fuel filters. Not only are these essential to the durability of your engine in the long term, but neglecting them will cause poor fuel economy in the short term, too. Performing regular maintenance means it will take less fuel to make that long highway trip. Maintaining proper tire pressure and using cruise control on the highway can further improve fuel economy, keeping your summer fuel costs down.

While air conditioning can be a drag on fuel economy in stop-and-go driving, keeping the windows up and the a/c on improves aerodynamics and is ideal on the highway. Plus, it will keep the driver and passengers comfortable and reduce driver fatigue. Have your air conditioning system checked annually. If your car’s a/c is not getting cold, chances are you have a leak in the system. Adding refrigerant will only solve the problem temporarily, so invest in a proper repair. Some a/c systems have a cabin air filtration system. Check your owner’s manual to see how often the filter should be changed. And if you see a little water dripping from your car, don’t worry. The a/c system drains condensation when it’s working properly.

Keeping your car cool when you’re not driving is important, too. The heat of the summer sun can cause cosmetic damage to your car and make it harder to cool off inside when it’s time to drive. Protect your paint and interior by parking in a garage or under an awning when possible. Regularly wax your vehicle using a polish with UV protection to reduce sun damage and paint fading. Protect the interior, too. Purchasing a $10 sunshade that keeps sunlight from coming in the windshield can reduce fading, drying and cracking inside your vehicle, and keep you cooler when you sit down behind the wheel.

Preparation is a key to handling harsh summer heat. Following these simple tips will help your vehicle to perform its best this summer. Not only will you and your vehicle be better prepared to survive the heat, but you’ll also make the most of your summer by enjoying the freedom that a well-cared-for car can offer. That certainly beats being stranded in the heat.

What it means to you: Don’t get stranded in the heat. Maintain your car year-round, but make special preparations for dealing with the hazards of summer, too.

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Meet the upgraded 2018 Durangos

Dodge has announced a number of upgrades for the 2018 Durango series, following the unveiling of the Durango SRT.

First, the Durango R/T’s appearance will be updated, with the SRT hood and fascia; this means the 5.7 Hemi-powered R/T will get a functional hood scoop with dual heat extractors, and a cold air ducting system, as well as LED fog lights. R/T buyers also get a standard 506-watt Beats nine-speaker stereo (available as an option on GT and Citadel).

The rear parking assist system, which beeps when an object is sensed behind the Durango — assuming it’s in reverse — will be augmented with front park assistance. The front-and-rear sensing system is standard on both R/T and SRT.

Buyers of the Durango GT can pay extra for the SRT hood — if they get the Blacktop or Brass Monkey package. The 2018 Durango GT will also be sweetened with a standard power liftgate, and Capri-and-suede bucket leather seats (also available as a standalone options).

All 2018 Dodge Durangos will have a standard backup camera, a new steering wheel, and a driver-oriented T-shifter with an AutoStick selector gate. Customers can opt for a leather-wrapped instrument panel, including contrasting stitching.

The 2018 Durango R/T will, late in the model run, be available in the famed B5 Blue paint, once reserved for the Durango SRT (and Dodge large cars). Dealers can order the 2018 Durango now, with deliveries expected in the third quarter of 2017; pricing will be announced later.

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Rumored Challenger Hellcat Widebody: it’s real

Today, Dodge revealed that a car long rumored on Allpar’s forums is indeed real: the 2018 Challenger SRT Hellcat will be offered with a widebody package which improves quarter mile and road course times, while giving the 707hp Mopar muscle car a menacing stance.

This is the same basic design as the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, with composite flares bolted onto unique sheet metal which allows for much bigger rubber under all four corners. To be exact, the Widebody Hellcat Challenger is fitted with 20 x 11-inch “Devil’s Rim” split spoke aluminum wheels wrapped in 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires and this extra rubber allows the supercharged Challenger to corner better, launch harder and look meaner.

In addition to the flared body bits, the wider wheels and the huge tires, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody has a new electronic power steering (EPS) system – the first electronic steering system in the Hellcat Challenger – which works with the Drive Mode system. This high tech steering setup has selectable settings for Street, Sport, and Track, with varying levels of feedback for each.

Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars for Dodge, reported that the new car leveraged the effort put into the SRT Demon.

Just how much does the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody help? Well, the wider rear tires allow the wider Hellcat to launch significantly harder, leading to a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds and quarter mile time of 10.9 seconds – 0.1 seconds quicker to 60 and 0.3 seconds quicker in the quarter mile than the original Hellcat Challenger.

Those quarter mile times will be more than enough to entice the average Mopar muscle car buyer who is looking to go drag racing, but Challenger fans who prefer tracks with turns will see improvements as well.

On a lateral skid pad, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody reaches 0.97g of grip, compared to 0.93g for the standard Hellcat Challenger. On an unspecified 1.7-mile road course, the improved steering capabilities and grip allowed the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody to be a full 2 seconds quicker per lap, beating a non-Widebody Hellcat Challenger by some 13 car lengths after one lap.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody has an MSRP of $72,590 with the 6-speed manual transmission, including gas guzzler tax and destination. The rest of the 2018 Challenger prices have not been announced, but the 2018 widebody package lists for $7,300 more than the 2017 Hellcat Challenger.

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Next-Gen 2018 Jeep Wrangler

The video actually shows two different four-door Wrangler Unlimited prototypes undergoing tests. The footage doesn’t reveal anything we don’t already know about the vehicle, but in a few of the shots its new LED headlamps and fender-mounted LED running lights can be clearly seen. Toward the end of the video, a prototype for the four-door Wrangler JT pickup truck is also pictured parked in an FCA lot.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, which will likely make a debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, will introduce major changes to the storied Wrangler nameplate. The vehicle will retain its solid axles and removable doors, but will feature a more refined and upscale cabin and should be lighter thanks to an aluminum hood and doors. A number of engine options should also be on the table, with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine said to be joined by FCA’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel engine. Both six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions will likely be on offer as well.

More information on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL should become available as its debut this fall approaches, but for now, you can see it testing in the video above.

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The minivan that just won’t die

The plan for Dodge was so simple and clear: it would be all muscle. The old people movers would be pushed onto Chrysler. The only thing standing in the way: Dodge’s two best sellers are front wheel drive people-movers.

The company has apparently been ambivalent, sometimes planning on Chrysler crossovers, sometimes planning on Dodge crossovers. At least the plan for the minivan was clear: the new, highly regarded, top-quality-ranked Chrysler Pacifica would become FCA’s sole minivan after September 1, 2017.

Now that, too, has changed.

The Dodge Caravan has sold roughly evenly with its Chrysler counterpart in recent years, except in Canada, where just about everyone buys the Dodge. Sergio Marchionne joked that sales chief Reid Bigland would keep the Caravan going forever if he could.

Numerous sources have told Allpar that there will be a 2019 Dodge Caravan after all, on the current “RT” body. The main reason for dropping the Dodge, other than brand clarity, boosting Pacifica sales, and reducing parts inventories, was a passenger-ejection safety standard that takes effect on September 1, 2017.

The changes should not be too costly, since the basic body and chassis aren’t affected; it’s mainly a matter of redesigned side airbags, different window glass, and possibly new seats. According to some, including Automotive News, implementing those changes is the reason why the plant is temporarily pausing Caravan production.

The pause seems only to affect minivans for the United States. According to the Windsor Star, quoting FCA Canada, Canadian and Mexican production is unaffected.

The 2018 Dodge Caravan will have its production launch in December, giving engineers and suppliers time to engineer and test changes and create necessary tooling and software. After that — yes, Virginia, there will be a 2019 Dodge Caravan.

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