Tip Sheet

How to protect your car from the damaging effects of sunlight

Protect car from fun
PHOTO: Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

A car is perhaps at its most pristine the moment it rolls off the production line. Once it leaves the factory, however, it becomes subject to brutal forces both natural and man-made—sunlight, rain, asphalt, saltwater, terrible drivers, and the list goes on. Granted, there is an argument that cars are simply appliances that can and will get damaged with regular use. But you are reading Top Gear Philippines, after all. If, like us, you want to keep your car as mint as possible, then read on. 

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Of the aforementioned elements, sunlight is perhaps one of the most damaging. There are few things out there that can do a number on your car’s exterior and interior with equal force. In this article, we list out some useful tips you can utilize in order to keep your car safe from harmful rays. 

What kind of damage can sunlight do to your car?

Before we get into how to prevent sun damage, let’s first discuss why you should do so. You see, the sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays, which cause certain materials to fade and wear out with prolonged exposure. The parts of your car most at risk for degradation include:

  • The paint
  • The lights
  • The rubber strips around the doors
  • The interior panels and upholstery
  • The tires

Now that you know what’s at risk, let’s discuss how you can prevent this kind of damage from happening. 


How to protect your car from sun damage

We’re gonna get all Occam’s Razor here by telling you the most obvious way to keep your car safe from the sun: Park in a cool, shaded spot. When you’re at home, this means a garage with a roof over it. At work, you’ll need a parking spot that’s likely within a building. 

Of course, you might not always have this option. If you’re forced to park in an open parking lot or on the street, try and find a spot next to a wall or under a tree that can provide a bit of shade. 

Keep your car clean to prevent sun damage

Skipping the car wash can have detrimental effects on your car beyond cleanliness. If you have to park your car while it’s exposed to sunlight for long periods, all the dirt and debris on the exterior can react to the car’s paint and cause damage. In addition, dead bugs can release toxic acids as they deteriorate, further ruining the paint job.

For extra security, make sure you routinely get your car waxed as well. Wax acts as a protective layer over your car’s paint, helping to preserve your car’s original look. 

Invest in protection for the interior

Of course, you also need to protect your car’s cabin from harmful UV rays. A foldable sun shade is a great thing to have if you’re parking your car out in the open in the middle of summer. It might add a few extra seconds to your commute, but it’s worth the time if you want to preserve your seats and dashboard.

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For a more permanent solution, you could look at getting some quality window tint installed. Just make sure it isn’t too dark, lest you affect your ability to see while driving at night. 

Keep your car’s cabin slightly cooler

If you’ve ever experienced getting into a car parked outdoors on a hot summer day, then you know the hassle and dangers of entering a steaming hot cabin. Leaving your window’s open by just a tiny bit can help air to circulate that will keep your interior cool. Just make sure you only do this when you’re parked somewhere completely secure, such as at home in your garage. 

Take care of your tires, too

If UV rays can damage the rubber inside of your car, then the same goes for the outside. Sun exposure can wear your tires out faster than normal. Installing some tire protectants can help preserve them.

Do you have any tips to add to our list? If so, list them down in the comments section below. 

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PHOTO: Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash
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