Arizona’s desert climate is known for the scorching hot temperatures in the summer but is lesser known for having snow or even hail, but it does happen. In fact, in October 2010 a huge storm covered the Valley and caused over 3 billion dollars’ worth of damage from the destruction caused by hail. The damages included homes ranging from dented air-conditioning units and windows to dinged-up cars and broken windshields. While storms of that severity are rare, hail storms can occur at any time and can damage your vehicle. As a car owner, you want to protect your investment by finding good insurance, getting routine maintenance performed, and prevent any kind of damages. Learn how to prepare for a hail storm ahead of time to avoid serious damage or injuries.
How to Protect Car from Hail In 4 Easy Steps:
- Stay Ahead of the Weather. If you’re well aware that a storm is traveling in your direction, you’re already ahead of the game. Knowing that a hail storm is possible may give you ample time to seek protection or shelter before the destruction begins. Stay up to date with the weather by watching your local news or weather channel, invest in a home weather station, or download a helpful weather app to your phone and enable alerts to notify you when events are occurring in your area.
- Take a Brake. Park your car in the garage if you are able. If you are far from home and the protection of your garage, find an area that can shield your vehicle from the storm such as a parking garage or under a gas station awning. If you happen to be on the freeway when hail is falling, seek protection under a freeway overpass. For your safety, pull over to the right shoulder as far as possible and turn off your headlights, turn on your hazard lights, and listen to weather updates on the radio. While traveling, try to angle your vehicle or switch directly into the path of the falling hail. This may seem counter-intuitive; however, your windshield is made to tolerate the intensity of hail stones. Other windows on your car, such as rear and passenger windows, on the other hand, are not as durable and will break from impact. If the hail is coming down and shelter is unavailable, park your vehicle adjacent to a large building. Be sure to park in the opposing direction of the storm, though. For example, when the storm is moving in from the west, park your vehicle on the east end of the building. You may be able to avoid any contact with hail entirely, depending on the force.
- Stay Put. During severe storms, hail or otherwise, it’s a good idea to stay put and let the storm pass. Cover yourself with loose clothing or a blanket to protect yourself from broken glass or other debris in case your window does break. For your safety, do not get out of your car when hail is falling. Hail falls rather quickly and can cause severe injury. Plus, they range in size from as small as a pea to as large as a softball. Imagine a dozen softballs hitting you at once. Ouch!
- Find Cover. Protect your vehicle from all kinds of weather conditions by purchasing a car cover made specifically for your car model. Also available are inflatable covers, hail blankets for cars, and portable covers that protect against hail. In a pinch, you can also use a blanket to help prevent broken windows or scratches and dents. Cover the whole vehicle with as many blankets as you can and secure them with duct tape underneath the body of the car, which will help prevent them from blowing away. Don’t have a stack of blankets lying around? No problem. Remove floor mats from the interior of your vehicle and place them on the windshield or windows. While they won’t protect the whole vehicle, they can discourage some damage.
Driving in Inclement Weather
Weather can be unpredictable and make us wonder what Mother Nature is up to. When rain, hail, or even snow falls, it’s important that your windshield wipers are functional. Seeing the road ahead is crucial to driving. Even with windshield wipers, wiping as fast as they can, sometimes seeing the road is difficult. In this case, it’s better to pull over and let the worst of the storm pass. Your safety is more important than being on time to any job, appointment, or anything else. Being prepared and using extreme caution will help you arrive safely.
Prepare your vehicle for driving in wet weather before a storm is in the forecast so you’re ready to take on whatever the weather brings. Making sure your tires are in good condition and set to the right pressure, windshield wipers are working, and all lights are working are a good start. When you’re driving in wet weather, it’s important you:
- Turn on headlights
- Brake lightly when slowing or stopping
- Drive closer to the center line and avoid puddles
- Use defroster and windshield wipers to keep your view clear
Have your vehicle maintained by Sun Devil Auto to prepare your vehicle for your next encounter with inclement weather.