How to Protect Your Car from Sun Damage
The sun constantly supplies us with warmth, daylight and renewable energy. But for anyone that has ventured to the beach on a hot July day, you realize just how quickly the sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays can burn and dehydrate exposed skin. Not only are our bodies vulnerable to sun damage, your car’s exterior and interior can also experience drying and accelerated aging from the sun’s rays and resulting heat. If you’re not careful, your vehicle’s once-prized appearance will be marred by fading, cracking, unsightly spots and other permanent reminders of the sun’s strength. The good news is that there are several proven ways to protect your car from the sun’s harmful rays. Let’s take a look at some of the more important ones now.
Protecting Your Car’s Interior
When your car sits outside on an average summer day, its metal shell absorbs the heat and traps hot air inside like an oven. That heated air can reach 140 degrees or more. In addition, materials that comprise your car’s interior, like vinyl, plastic and leather, are all susceptible to direct sunlight and will eventually fade, crack and stain due to the sun’s powerful rays. To help protect your car’s interior, use these tips:
- Park in the shade. By parking your car out of the direct sunlight, you’ll keep it from overheating and shield your dash and other trim from its powerful rays. It’s also a good idea to crack your window open slightly, which will help allow heated air to escape to the outside.
- Deploy sun panels. Car windows act like a magnifying glass which intensifies the sun’s bleaching effects. Place sun panels inside your windshield, rear and side windows, and their reflective qualities will keep your car’s interior cooler all day long while blocking the sun’s rays from reaching your dash, seats and other exposed areas.
- Buy seat covers. Depending on the material, seat covers will protect your leather and fabric seats from the sun while also keeping them much cooler to the touch.
- Use protectants and conditioners. Numerous commercial products are available that can be used to clean, revitalize and protect interior components from the sun. If your seats and trim are leather, use a specified conditioner to keep the material moisturized against cracking and fading.
- Clean out the inside. Dust, dirt particles and food on your dashboard, seats, trim and carpeting can actually get baked into the material, leading to permanent stains. To prevent that from happening, vacuum out your vehicle frequently, and then wipe down the inside with a clean microfiber cloth and automotive detailing product.
Ways to Protect Your Car’s Exterior
In addition to road dirt and grime, the summer air contains pollen and other air particles floating around. Bugs and bird droppings also get splattered on your car’s paint. When exposed to intense heat, all of these can get baked into the finish and cause permanent stains. The sun’s UV rays can also discolor your car’s once-glossy finish and trim if it isn’t protected properly. To keep it looking like new, here are some ways to safeguard your vehicle’s exterior from the sun:
- Wash it often. Wash the outside of your car with a gentle soap and water often, and any time after it’s rained. This will remove all of the dirt, dust and other paint-damaging materials. Dry your car immediately after washing with a soft microfiber cloth before the water droplets evaporate and form spots.
- Wax your car. Once or twice a year after a thorough washing, wax your car with a high-quality product. Waxing locks in the paint’s oils, and serves as a barrier against the sun’s UV rays. However, be careful not to apply wax in direct sunlight. There are also paint protection film products available that work like waxing, while protecting your finish from the elements year-around.
- Keep it shaded. Parking your car in the shade will keep your vehicle’s painted finish from being directly targeted by the sun’s punishing rays. Keep it garaged, under a carport or other shady spot. If you leave it under a tree, remember to check it for tree sap or bird droppings later and wash them off promptly when found.
Reliable Body Shops Nearby Know Sun Damage
There are many ways to protect your car’s interior and exterior from the sun’s powerful UV rays. Experienced collision repair shop technicians understand the sun’s damaging effects. And when your vehicle has been marred by the sun, better auto body shops know how to repair the damage, inside and out. So whether you need a fresh paint job, a cracked dash restored, or even a leather seat cover replaced, a local body shop has the reliable, affordable and prompt services you need. And if you don’t have time to detail your car like you should, collision repair shops also provide high-quality interior and exterior auto detailing services that’ll help protect your car from the sun all year long.