The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can wreak havoc on a car's exterior. Over time, exposure to sunlight will cause the clear coat and underlying paint to oxidize, weaken and eventually fade. If the problem persists, the paint will crack and flake off, leaving the metal body vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Thankfully, there are ways to protect your car from sun damage.
Park in the Shade
Conventional wisdom should tell you that parking in the shade will protect your car from sun damage. When given the option of parking in the open or underneath a large tree, for instance, choose the latter. The less your car is exposed to the sun, the lower the risk of sun damage. If you don't have a covered garage at your home, consider investing in a portable carport. Available for about $500 to $900, it's a smart investment that will create a shaded area under which you can park.
Don't underestimate the importance of washing your car. Even if your car looks clean from afar, it's probably coated in dirt, debris and other particulate matter. When exposed to the sun's heat, this debris can become embedded into your car's paint, thus causing it to slowly wear down your car's exterior. You can protect your car from such damage, however, by washing it on a regular basis. For maximum protection, try to get into the habit of washing your car at least once every two to three weeks.
Rather than allowing your car to "air dry" after washing it, consider drying it by hand. Using a lint-free microfiber cloth, gently wipe down your car's exterior to remove any lingering moisture or soap after washing it. How does this it protect from sun damage exactly? Well, air drying your car leaves behind moisture, and the sun's UV light will trigger oxidation with this moisture, which can damage your car's paint and exterior. By drying your car by hand, you'll remove any lingering moisture so that your car is protected from sun-related oxidation.
Apply a Protective Wax
In addition to washing your car on a regular basis, you should also wax it. Your car's clear coat is responsible for protecting the underlying paint from damage. When it goes away, your car's paint will eventually wear away as well. A protective wax, however, creates a barrier over the clear coat, offering another level of protection from sun-related damage. This is why most automotive experts recommend waxing your car once every three months.