Anyone in the Phoenix area knows the dangers of a dust storm (aka haboobs) and that it can happen without warning, especially between May and September. Locals know that the dust and debris that makeup dust storms create hazardous driving conditions. What’s also crucial to consider is that they can also impact your car’s performance. Driving in a haboob can drastically shorten the life of the engine’s air filter. The dust can clog the filter, causing poor performance, reducing fuel economy, and in some cases damaging the engine.
What is a Haboob?
A haboob is a strong wind and dust storm that can be combined with thunderstorms. Haboobs or dust storms can last a few hours, carrying massive amounts of dust and debris, moving in a dense wall that can reach 5,000 feet.
Protecting Your Car During a Dust Storm or Haboob
Covered Parking at Home
Your best bet for protecting your car during a dust storm is to park in a garage or covered parking spot. Whether it’s a carport or garage, this structural cover will protect your car from potential damage from chips in the paint, dents, and cracked windshields.
Use a Car Cover
Get a car cover if you don’t have a garage or covered parking area at home. You can also take the car cover with you when you’re away from home in case you can’t find a covered area. Make sure you buy a cover that fits the specifications and measurements of your vehicle so it fits appropriately.
Find A Temporary Shelter
While away from home, even if you have a car cover, try to park in covered areas (at work, parking garages, malls, or school campuses).
Preparing Your Car Prior to a Dust Storm
Look for Windshield Damage
Check to make sure your windshield hasn’t been damaged. Remember, the windshield is basically your window to the road and what’s ahead. If cracks obstruct your view, have them repaired or have the window replaced if necessary.
Check the Wipers and Fluid
Replacing windshield wipers is an affordable way to improve visibility during dust storms and heavy rain. It doesn’t take a lot of rainwater to add layers of vision-impairing film to a windshield. It’s essential to keep your window clean, especially during dust storm season. Wipers should function in a smooth motion without leaving streaks. Also, make sure you top off your windshield washer fluid.
Make Sure Your A/C is Working
The A/C plays a vital role in keeping the window free of moisture and keeping you comfortable during high summer temperatures. Be prepared by having your A/C serviced before summer and the dust storm/monsoon season hits.
Have the Tires Inspected
Have your tires checked to ensure they’re in good condition. Tire treads wear out over time; if you don’t have good traction, you can lose control during challenging weather conditions. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to confirm the right PSI for your car. Auto repair centers typically check out the tires while performing oil changes and maintenance procedures, but knowing how to check it between repairs will help keep you safe. Also, make sure your spare is in good condition.
Keep Your Car Clean During Dust Storm Season
Don’t leave your car covered with dust and debris after a haboob if you want to maintain the beauty of the exterior’s polished finish. In addition, keeping the headlights clean during bad weather is important because you rely on them to help keep you on the road. If your headlights are extremely cloudy and a quick clean doesn’t work, have them cleaned professionally inside and out.
Don’t use a sponge to clean the car because sand can scratch the paint as the sponge glides across it. Instead, use a water hose, paying attention to nooks and crannies where debris and sand can get stuck. Next, wax the car for added protection and to minimize signs of wear on the surface, including areas where sand may have already caused damage.
It’s never too early to prepare your vehicle for dust storm season. By keeping your car safe, it will keep you safe in return. Contact us today to have a maintenance inspection done on your vehicle.