How to protect your car from sun damage

2018 Mustang GT. Ford photo
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2018 Mustang GT. Ford photo

People know to protect their skin and eyes from the sun. Sun exposure can be dangerous for the body, but the sun’s rays also can damage automobiles.

Leaving a vehicle exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time increases the risk of damage to its interior and exterior. It’s important that car and truck owners recognize this so they can mitigate the potential problems sun and heat may cause. Testing conducted at the State Farm® Vehicle Research Facility found interior vehicle air temperatures have been recorded well in excess of 145 F. Interior surfaces exposed to direct sunlight have been recorded at temperatures in excess of 195 F.

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The automotive repair service Fix Auto says the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause the vehicle’s paint to peel and fade over time. UV rays break down the molecules in the paint and make it appear dull. The company says red paint is particularly susceptible because red paint molecules deteriorate faster in the sun than other paint colors.

To prevent potential sun-related damage, take these precautions.

  • Avoid direct sunlight. Park in the shade as much as possible.
  • Crack a window. If it is safe to do so, lower interior air temperature and equalize air pressure by opening up car windows a little.
  • Use a windshield protector. Reflect sunlight away and keep the vehicle cool with a windshield sun protector that unfolds and slides into place.
  • Use a protectant wax. A layer of wax can offer another layer of protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
  • Wash the car frequently. Washing and hand-drying the vehicle helps to remove dirt and other debris which can cause micro-scratches in the paint.
  • Install seat covers. Seat covers can protect leather and fabric upholstery. A leather conditioner can help prevent cracks and tears from sunlight and heat.

These easy steps are simple preventative measures that protect vehicles against sun damage.