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rob's garage

With the Toronto summer temps hitting ridiculous levels, I'm concerned about the interior of my Chevy Silverado. The interior doesn't have much chance for shade when I park it at work. What makes matters worse is that it's got a dark grey paint job.

Is there anything I should or could be doing to protect my truck? Yesterday I could have sworn the dash pad was sagging!

Thanks, Ron

Don't swear Ron, your concerns are valid – your dash probably was sagging.

Even though manufacturers spend huge resources on hot (and cold) weather testing, there is no replacement for the real world driving environment…especially a hot Toronto summer.

But Ron, there are steps you can take to mitigate sun and heat damage to your Chevy.

Firstly, block out damaging UV rays. Heat is one thing, but destructive, long term damage to interiors (and exteriors) occurs with extensive exposure to UV rays. This can be accomplished with a windshield sun shade. For you Ron, your full sized pick-up will require the large size as they come in many shapes and sizes. In your particular case, you should also purchase a second one for the rear window. Depending on your parking orientation, you may want to include a third window shade for the side glass that faces the sun.

Because your truck is a dark colour, Plan B might be the use of an old white bed sheet. This will not only shade the interior, it will keep the sun off the cab paint as well as lessening the heat load in the cab.

Lift the wipers and tuck the sheet under the blades. The wiper arms will hold the sheet to the windshield. Lay the sheet over the roof and down over the backlight. Open the doors and tuck the outer edges between the doors and the body. The closed doors will hold the sheet in place as well as provide shade for the interior sides. Using large utility clips will secure the sheet to the bed-wall up against the cab.

Another possibility is to keep the windows cracked about half an inch. This is a judgment call, as some people are nervous to leave their vehicle possibly vulnerable to intruders.

To many, this all sounds like no-brainer stuff, but here's the rub: if the vehicle's interiors are not protected, oils will be pulled out of the vinyl and leather. This leads to faded colours, cracked surfaces and brittle materials.

A quick smear test of the windows is all that's needed to see if this is happening to your vehicle. Start with clean windows, and after a few days of leaving your car unprotected in the sun, wipe the inside of the windshield with your fingers. If the oils are being pulled out, you will notice a smeared oily film as you run your fingers across the glass. If the transfer of oils is extreme, you will feel it in the air of the cabin – usually a funny taste in your mouth.

Another hot weather car tip: Do not wash vehicles in direct sunlight. The hot metal will dry the soap and water mixture on the paint, leaving stains on the surface of the clear coat paint. And while I'm on the subject, bird "droppings" should be cleaned off as soon as possible. The acids in the guano eat though clear coat layers leaving indentations that cannot be removed without radical repair.

Good on you Ron for protecting your investment, it will pay you back at trade-in time.

Do you have car maintenance or repair questions? Send them to Globe Drive.