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Just leased a Smart ForTwo Pure Coupe for 36 months and live in Phoenix. The sun and heat out here destroy anything that is plastic and I have a garage but the car will be sitting in direct sunlight during my working hours. Anyone else have a Smart Car that they leave in direct sunlight in Phoenix. If so, what kind of damage, if any, has the heat and direct sunlight caused to the body of the vehicle?
 

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I would acquire a California Pop-Top or better yet a car cover to protect your smart from the harsh heat and sun. The CA Pop-Top will actually keep the cabin a lot cooler then the outside temp.
 

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If so, what kind of damage, if any, has the heat and direct sunlight caused to the body of the vehicle?
Desert Rat, welcome to Freaky Friday at the SCoA asylum . . .

You may want to get the windows tinted both for UV protection AND to help the A/C deal with your intense summer heat.

Below is a picture from some of the smart fortwo hot weather testing done in the desert showing what appears to be remnants of the Tridion?

KIDDING!
 

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Desert Rat, welcome to Freaky Friday at the SCoA asylum . . .

You may want to get the windows tinted both for UV protection AND to help the A/C deal with your intense summer heat.

Below is a picture from some of the smart fortwo hot weather testing done in the desert showing what appears to be remnants of the Tridion?

KIDDING!
Pretty funny MB DNA, thanks :D It does get freakin' hot out here and anything plastic does fall apart. I had a '97 Nissan pickup and the inside dome light bulb needed to be replaced. When I went to take the cover off to replace the bulb the dome light cover literally crumbled into little pieces when I took it off. Also, the radiator top was plastic and just split one day, it was made of plastic as well. Anything plastic that gets exposure to the heat and sun out here just deteriorates to the point of falling apart. As far as tinting the windows goes, it's a lease so I'd have to check with the dealership on that. First accessory I got was a Windshield Reflector - Heatshield we "Phoenicians" are used to the heat but even we find it a bit difficult to deal with when it gets to 115 to 120 degrees. I am a bit concerned as to how the plastic body panels handle it but I guess it shouldn't be too bad after 36 months.
 

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Anything you can do to help out the A/C is a big deal - the A/C struggles in normal summer heat; Arizona is another thing altogether. :wink:
 

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Anything you can do to help out the A/C is a big deal - the A/C struggles in normal summer heat; Arizona is another thing altogether. :wink:
The A/C struggles in "Normal" summer heat? What's "normal summer heat"? 80 to 100 degrees? That may be a problem out here then as it can go above 110 degrees here and stay like that for weeks. When you say it struggles could you be a little more specific? Like does it stop working altogether or just not work that well? That could suck if/when it hovers around 115 for 2 weeks.
 

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The smart has a lot of glass area for it's size so the interior heats up quickly and stays there. Cracking the windows helps, as does putting a reflecting panel above the sunshade and the car top cover helps even more. The A/C does OK up to around 90 in my experience - above that it tries but doesn't seem to be able to keep up. A bunch of us drove across Kansas last summer on the way to the Denver Nationals; 105 outside and the inside was just barely comfortable. A lot better on the return leg due to having the windows tinted. :)
 

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The AC is, necessarily, small and like all ACs, works best when there is a bit of humidity. We are at 5000 ft. elevation where the sun shines every day and it is fairly dry most of the year. A hot day for us is 90F and the smart AC is just barely adequate.
I cannot imagine living in Phoenix, especially in the summertime.
 

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This is probably the best way to go.

I have never tried to cover my car or even use one of those foil windshield things... I know my car gets quite hot after sitting in the parking lot on a summer day. The AC isn't that helpful to cool things down.

While this picture looks like it would help block the sun from heating inside the car, the initial question was about protecting the plastic side panels from the sun. This looks like it leaves the rest of the car unprotected, unless it isn't the sun that is the problem but the heat oven that is created inside the car when the sun is out.
 

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There are some reasonably priced car covers on eBay. They have them in a variety of thicknesses. If I was still working, I'd get one.
 

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OK, back on topic: We just had to remove two plastic panels due to brittleness and cloudiness. Fortunately, they were the ones covering our license plates and the local traffic police told us to remove them. Now the cameras on the highway can read our numbers better and send tickets to our home. Mexico is up to date....no?
The rest of the panels on our smart are just as good as new and our smart is likely to be older than yours in the more northern part of North America, since our Passion was built in 2006 and sold as a 2007 model.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
36 Month lease in AZ, you should be fine.

Here's a red AZ smart fortwo at 48 Months . . . :wink:
MB DNA, I do appreciate your humor. :wink: I will say this. When I have bought a new or late model vehicle in the past I usually am more apt to notice one when I see it being driven in the city or highway and I have been leasing this one for 2 months and as of yet I have not seen even one, not a solitary single one besides mine. Maybe there is a reason for that I had not taken into consideration before leasing one.

Of course, your above post is obviously an exaggeration but when I say ( And I have been living in Phoenix 18 years ) that the heat and direct sunlight destroy plastic I'm not exaggerating.

I am into and own a few military surplus rifles and they are usually stored for decades in "cosmoline" to protect them. Cosmoline is a rust preventative that is extremely difficult to remove. I remember reading that the easiest way to remove it was to place your rifle in a plastic trash bag, lean it against an outside wall during June, July, August & September and that will melt the cosmoline off into a puddle at the bottom of the plastic bag. When it gets above 115 degrees peoples tires explode while they are driving and the tar on the streets squishes beneath your feet as you walk on it. You can actually get a 1st degree burn from the metal clip in a seat belt and people leave their vehicle side windows slightly open to let out the pressure from the heat that builds up inside your car because it has been known to crack windshields.

And, sadly enough, idiots have left their children in their vehicles to make a simple trip to the store to pick up an item and their children have died from the heat. There was an incident where a police officer left his patrol dog in a patrol car and the dog died from the heat. I could give a few more examples but my point is, when I say it gets hot out here, even though it's a "dry heat" it gets pretty damn hot. And the fact that it's a dry heat makes it even worse. The instant you go outside and begin to perspire, that perspiration evaporates so you can dehydrate very easily without even knowing it until you suddenly get a headache and collapse from heat exhaustion.

Just about every home has a garage but when the sun beats on that garage door for 8 to 10 hours it becomes like an oven. I have a thermometer in my garage that goes up to about 125 degrees ( which is as high as it can go ) when the temperature is 110 or above outside. Most, but not all apartment complexes have covered parking but the ones that do charge extra for it.

I didn't do my research when I leased my 2014 Smart Fortwo Pure Coupe and didn't realize the panels were plastic until I took it home. Had I known that I would have had second thoughts about leasing one. :|
 

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Discussion Starter #20
OK, back on topic: We just had to remove two plastic panels due to brittleness and cloudiness. Fortunately, they were the ones covering our license plates and the local traffic police told us to remove them. Now the cameras on the highway can read our numbers better and send tickets to our home. Mexico is up to date....no?
The rest of the panels on our smart are just as good as new and our smart is likely to be older than yours in the more northern part of North America, since our Passion was built in 2006 and sold as a 2007 model.
That's good to know.
 
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