Car components that can be damaged by sunlight (and how to protect them)

Because summer is around the corner
by Joey Bernardez | Feb 24, 2019
PHOTO: Pixabay

Summer is great. Vacations, beach trips, cook-outs, drives to Baguio, and lots of fun stuff to do. However, it can get terribly hot and the sun can damage various parts of the car. The best way to prevent sun damage is to keep your car out of the sun, but that’s almost next to impossible if you use your car. You can reduce damage by parking in the shade, or by applying protectants to exposed components.


Everything and anything that’s exposed for very long can get damaged by the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. This is what causes photodegradation or fading. UV rays break up the chemical bonds in color dyes. The following components that can suffer the most from sun-damage:

Paint

Your car’s paint can suffer quite a bit. However, there are plenty of ways to protect it. Waxes can feed paint and keep it from drying out. Waxes can last about four to eight weeks, depending on the environment. And then there are sealants that can last six months to a year. The ultimate surface protector is ceramic coating which can last a couple of years.

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The next level of paint protection is a vinyl wrap. This applied to the entire surface of the car. Paint is never exposed to the sun, thus preserving it like new. Although vinyl wrap will also degrade after a few years, some quality wraps are guaranteed for 10 years. When it wears and fades, just remove it and the original paint underneath remains as good as new. This is by far the most expensive way to protect your car’s finish from sun damage. It can also protect it from light scratches.

Lights

Modern headlights lenses are made of clear plastic. This clear plastic yellows from sun damage after a few years. A great way to protect them is to apply a UV protectant spray occasionally. A better way is to have a protective clear vinyl film applied on your lights. This is the same vinyl wrap used on the paintwork to protect it from scratches and from the weather. If you apply it early enough you can keep  headlights looking like new for the life of your car. The film will also degrade in a few years, but you can take it off to find your headlights as clear as when they were new. You can just apply some new film to your lights. If your car’s headlights are already scratched and yellowed from age, they can be re-polished and then a clear film can be applied to make them appear clear, shiny and new again.

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Rubber weather stripping

All around the doors is rubber weather stripping that keeps air, water, dust, and debris from entering the nooks, crannies, and cabin of the car. Some of them are exposed to sun damage, but those that are not can also suffer from dry-rot. These can be protected by silicone protective substances that can be wiped on every few months to keep them lubricated and to keep them from rotting.


The interior and upholstery

The interior suffers damage from UV rays, but also from baking in the heat. The best way to protect your car’s interior is to get a high-quality tint that minimizes the UV rays that penetrate through the glass.


The next step is to protect your car’s interior components from drying out and rotting from the baking heat. This can be addressed by keeping the interior components hydrated. For the vinyl and leather parts, a silicone protectant with UV protection can be applied occasionally. For the cloth components, a fabric protectant would be best.

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PHOTO: Pixabay
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