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Outdoor Parking Survival Guide

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While a garage, carport or covered car park are the ideal places to park your car, they are often a luxury that not all of us have access to. Many Australians drive and park at bus or train stations and catch public transport to their destination, leaving their car out in the weather for the day. Most of the time, these car parks are not covered or secure and are a relatively unsafe environment for your vehicle.

If you have no choice but to leave your car sitting outside for extended periods, whether at home overnight or throughout the day at work, there are a few things you can do to increase its safety and prevent damage.

Causes of Vehicle Damage In Outside Environments

We are so used to having our vehicles outdoors, for that is where we drive them after all, making it easy to dismiss the risks of parking outdoors. While some outdoor environments are worse than others for the safety of your vehicle, there are several factors to keep in mind when trying to protect your vehicle from damage.

The weather

This one might seem obvious but is often easy to overlook as it is out of our control. However, even when the weather isn’t extreme, it can still cause wear and tear damages to the external surface of your vehicle.

The sun, rain, wind and hail can all have damaging effects on your vehicle, especially if it is left in these conditions for long periods at a time. Extended exposure to these conditions can cause rust, dirt, residue build-ups, and your car’s paint peel.

Security

While sometimes it is inevitable that you will have to park your car outside, it is crucial to be mindful of how secure this area is. This includes how close to a busy road you are parked, whether your vehicle is locked, and how illuminated the location is.

Areas that aren’t secure can put your car at risk of vandalism or even theft.

Temperature change

It is difficult to predict the temperature outside and, subsequently, impossible to control and keep it consistent. This is an issue as inconsistent temperatures can affect the fluids and oils that keep your engine running healthily.

Insurance costs

While insurance is a highly beneficial and often necessary investment, keeping your car outdoors can be a red flag for insurance companies with the potential to ramp up the prices. In addition, if there is ever a problem with your vehicle that you park outdoors, the excess is likely to be higher as insurance companies consider outdoor environments less secure and higher risks.

Other vehicles

Accidents happen, and it also happens that keeping your vehicle outdoors puts you at higher risk of accidental damage occurring. When your car is kept outdoors, and in a less secure area, there is a higher chance that other drivers will scratch or bump your car.

Also, depending on the security and environment of the outdoor area, there is less likely to be security footage for you to assess and resolve the damage with the other vehicle owner.

Bird droppings and debris

We’ve all felt the utter frustration of returning to your vehicle and realising you accidentally parked under a tree, only to find your car covered in sap or large droppings from some not so considerate birds.

While this can happen no matter how long your car is parked outdoors, the longer you leave it, the more difficult the droppings will be to clean off.

How To Protect Your Car

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There are many culprits to blame for damage to your vehicle, especially when it is kept outdoors. However, there are many ways for you to reduce the effects of these culprits and protect your vehicle.

Invest In a Car Cover

Car covers are fantastic solutions to protect your vehicle from scratches, dust, grime, the sun, weather damage, and so much more. Not only can they help keep your paintwork safe, but more advanced covers that are made of waterproof and breathable materials can keep the rain off your car and allow condensation to evaporate.

If you are parked outdoors constantly and for extended periods, car covers provide your peace of mind knowing your vehicle is much safer and at less risk of damage.

Wash Your Car Regularly and Properly

Whether you park your car indoors or outdoors, regular and proper washing is essential to protecting it from damage. However, when parking outside where your vehicle is prone to many environmental factors, it is even more important you do so regularly.

Washing your vehicle regularly can ensure you get rid of any grime, dirt, and pollutants before they can cause damage to your car. However, when doing so, you must use a proper car wash, as other chemicals not intended for vehicles can cause damage to the paintwork.

In addition to regular cleaning, it is also essential to wash your car after specific scenarios:

  • After it rains: This one may sound a little stupid, as isn’t water what you use to wash your car with? However, the rain alone is not enough to clean the dirt and grime from your vehicle and can add a layer of pollutants that can damage your vehicle’s surface.
  • Bird droppings: If bird droppings have landed on your vehicle, not washing your car quickly can cause them to leave stains and begin to peel the paint.

Park In a Well-Lit Area

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Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent vandalism, parking in a well-lit, yet outdoor area, can prevent vandals from striking. If your vehicle is in a noticeable location, vandals are less likely to attack your car at a higher risk of being caught.

If you park your car in your uncovered driveway overnight, it is a great idea to consider installing motion sensor lights to warn vandals away.

Keep Your Vehicle Secure

While parking indoors is the best way to guarantee your vehicle’s safety, when you have no choice but to park outside, there are still things you can do to increase the security of your car.

There were 47,803 car thefts recorded in Australia over the past year, making it even more critical you lock your vehicle. Ensuring your vehicle is locked, windows are closed and your car has no valuable items or belongings visible inside can prevent thieves by removing temptation.

Monitor The Weather

To protect your car that is often parked outside during storm season or from any extreme weather events, monitoring the weather can help you be prepared.

BOM is a fantastic and easy to use resource where you can directly track and monitor any oncoming storms or weather events. This can be helpful to give yourself enough time to prepare for when the weather hits. This can mean finding a secure, undercover area to park your vehicle or fitting your car cover onto your car to prevent damage.

Update Your Insurance

If your vehicle is regularly parked outside and in the natural environment, updating your insurance to suit your situation can ensure you are correctly covered if any damages do occur.

While parking outside is a high-risk scenario and can ramp up your insurance cost, there are still many budget-friendly insurance options available. Investing in the correct insurance can save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if your vehicle is more prone to damage.

Regularly Maintain Your Vehicle

Beyond regularly washing your vehicle, regular maintenance and repairs can reduce potential damage from environmental factors. This can also mean repairing any damage that has occurred immediately to prevent the outdoor environment from worsening.

In particular, it is vital to pay close attention to your windscreen and address any damage immediately. Not addressing windscreen damage quickly can cause it to spread and get worse. In addition, parking in outdoor environments where temperature change and parking in direct sunlight is unavoidable can exacerbate any windscreen damage you may have. Dealing with windscreen damage quickly can be a relatively inexpensive and quick process and save you the need for an expensive windscreen replacement in the long run.

Owning a vehicle comes with many risks. While it is impossible to diminish all of them, when it comes to protecting your vehicle while parked outside, these small and simple steps can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

If you are looking for advice on maintaining your vehicle for the highest level of protection, contact Novus today. The friendly team of professionals prioritise convenience for vehicle safety and can help with any windscreen repair needs you may have.