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Is Parking In The Sun Bad For Your Car?

The Sun Produces Ultraviolet Light


The sun is 93 million miles away, but the big yellow bully in the sky shows no mercy. Over time, your vehicle’s paint discolors, headlight lenses become cloudy, and upholstery dries out and cracks.

Here’s what you need to know about UV rays how to protect your car from the sun.

4 Types of Sun Damage on Your Vehicle

Not all sun damage is the same.

  • Color Fade - UV degradation causes reflected light to respond differently thus distorting colors.
  • Oxidation - A rough surface forms making gloss appear dull or matted.
  • Warping - Heat expands interior components allowing them to change shape and crack.
  • Clouding - Molecules in clear plastics shift out of alignment turning lenses opaque.

How Hot Does A Car Get In The Sun?

Temperatures continue to rise while your car remains in direct sunlight, and trapped heat cannot escape with your windows rolled up. In desert climates with extreme summer heat, a vehicle’s interior temperature can rise 20 degrees in less than half an hour. The interior temperature may exceed 150 degrees.

Preventing Sun Damage

You might be able to treat some oxidation damage with a paint scratch remover, but it’s best to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place.


  • Park In The Shade - Avoid trees that drop leaves and sap.
  • Wash Often - Remove dust contaminants reduces the amount of heat absorbed.
  • Use A Wax Coat - These products have UV reflecting properties.

Always use a car cover to hide your vehicle away when you are not driving it. Covers reflect UV rays limiting sun damaged paint on car and truck exteriors.

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