How to Protect Your Car From the Sun
During the months when the sun is out and the weather is warm, you probably do more leisurely driving and wash your car on a more frequent basis. While these efforts can make your car look good on the surface, the sun could have a detrimental effect that might only become apparent over time. Simply put, it's important to know how to protect your car's paint from the sun.
How the Sun Damages Car Paints and Plastics
The parts that comprise your car's exterior might seem strong and resilient on the surface. However, the sun has subtle effects that might only become apparent over time. If your car is constantly exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays on your commutes, the UV radiation can have a dulling effect on the paint and light lenses. The effects of this are often accelerated during the months when the sun beams down with intensity.
After months of prolonged UV exposure, you might notice the paint on the hood or roof of your car fade to a slightly lighter, duller hue. Likewise, you might see a yellowing effect on the lenses of the headlights or taillights. If the upholstery in the passenger compartment is constantly hit with sunlight, you might even notice a dulled color across the seats and dashboard.
For obvious reasons, UV protection for your car is a wise investment. It's also important to know about the simpler steps you can take to reduce sun damage on your vehicle. By knowing how to protect your car from sun damage, you can prevent the dulling effects of UV rays and retain the original look and luster of the paint, lights and interior.
How to Protect Your Car's Paint From the Sun
As you head into the summer months, you should take steps to protect the paint on your car from the impacts of the sun's ultraviolet rays. One of the most damaging effects of UV rays is how solar heat can break through the chemical bonds that would otherwise hold together an exposed layer of paint. The effects of this can degrade the chemical bonds of the dyes within the paint and cause the color to fade in certain spots.
To stop the sun from ruining your car's appearance, apply one of the following protective layers:
When applied across the surfaces of a painted automobile, wax can serve as a replenishing formula. With a periodic coat of wax, the paint job on your car should be moisturized for up to two months. During the warm months of summer, a regular coat of wax could give the paint the replenishment it needs to withstand the drying effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays. In a sense, wax can do for a paint job what skin products do for people.
To keep your vehicle waxed on a regular basis, choose a wax from a reputable brand that will not leave streaks or residue. Wax should spread smoothly across each panel of your automobile to give the painted surfaces a crystal-clear shine. Spread the wax evenly on each part and be sure to wipe away any excess clumps. Once applied, the wax should last anywhere from four to eight weeks before you need to reapply.
Another way to protect the surface of your car is with a sealant, which blocks UV rays that might otherwise cause the paint to fade and crack. With a sealant, the surfaces of the auto body will be shielded from the sun as you drive great distances under the hot sun during the spring and summer months. Whether you take short trips or commute great distances during the course of an average day, a sealant could do for your car what a sunblock lotion can do to protect your skin when you walk in the sunlight.
To get maximum protection from a sealant, you should always choose a product that lasts for the duration of a warm spell. If you find a sealant formulated to last for six months or more, that gives your car ample coverage during the critical months of March through September.
3. Vinyl Wrap
The most effective way to shield the paint job on your car from the UV rays of the sun is with a vinyl wrap. A wrap fits the dimensions and contours of each painted panel on an automobile and serves as a protective membrane. With a vinyl wrap, the body of your automobile remains resilient in the face of sunlight as you take long drives in the spring and summer months. Moreover, vinyl protects the paint from the minor abrasions that can result from upswept pebbles and flying debris.
When applied to an automobile, a vinyl wrap can enhance the appearance of a vehicle body. You could opt for a clear vinyl wrap that simply protects the body with a shiny extra membrane. Or, you could choose an opaque color or pattern to transform the look of your automobile for the length of time you choose to leave the wrap in place.
A vinyl wrap typically only takes a few hours to apply, but it can last for several years. Some high-end wraps can last up to 10 years. A wrap can be removed at any time with no damage to the underlying surfaces. If you plan to own your current vehicle for a number of years to come, a vinyl wrap would be a wise investment and your best choice to protect the paint from sun exposure.
Benefits of Vinyl Wraps
Whereas most waxes and protective coats only last for limited periods of time, a vinyl wrap lasts for years. Depending on how long you own and operate a particular car, you might only need to have one vinyl wrap applied for the duration of your ownership of the vehicle. During that time, you could avoid some of the issues that would otherwise affect the car's appearance, such as fading paint and minor scratches.
Autobody vinyl wraps offer the following benefits:
1. Fade Resistance
When the painted panels of your vehicle are covered with a layer of protective vinyl, the ultraviolet rays of the sun are not able to penetrate the underlying paint. Because of this, the heat and UV rays cannot destabilize the paint's chemical properties and cause the dye to diminish and fade.
If you drive the same vehicle for eight years or more, a vinyl wrap could spare you the burden of having to get the paint job redone during that time. When you consider the expense and time it takes for most auto shops to finish a paint job, a vinyl wrap could represent big savings.
Most paint jobs can take upwards of a week to complete and leave you without a car during that time. If you commute long distances on a daily basis, this separation from your car might be unacceptable. With a vinyl wrap, you could easily avoid one of the biggest frustrations endured by vehicle owners.
2. Surface Resilience
When you have the outer body of your car wrapped with protective vinyl, the surfaces become more resilient against the elements. This added protection can really help your vehicle withstand flying particles along the roads and highways. If you take your car for long rides to vacation spots, for example, the paint job is unlikely to be impacted by airborne pebbles and dirt.
The protective qualities of a vinyl wrap can be especially useful if you live near the coast or any area with salty air. Salt can have a detrimental effect on metal and the paint on unprotected surfaces. With a vinyl wrap, your car receives protection from this corrosive coastal influence.
3. Minimal Maintenance
With a protective vinyl wrap installed, your car will rarely require maintenance on the outer panels. For starters, you will never need to wax your car. The time you might otherwise spend performing your wax-on/wax-off routine across the doors, roof and hood can instead be spent on more leisurely activities. The only aesthetic maintenance a vinyl-wrapped car generally needs is a periodic trip through the car wash.
Due to the resilience of vinyl wraps, you are less likely to wind up with paint scratches. Therefore, if the side of your car is grazed with a small object or bicycle, you could probably brush the incident off without consequence because it likely won't impact the value of the car.
A vinyl wrap could spare you the hassle and expense of a having to get your car repainted after a minor mishap. This stands in contrast to an unwrapped car, where the paint can easily be damaged by the slightest bumps and scratches.
4. Improved Appearance
To the naked eye, the most obvious benefit of vinyl wraps is how they improve the appearance of most vehicles. Whether your car is new or old, a vinyl wrap could restore the freshness of the exterior and make it look as though it was just rolled off the lot. Vinyl wraps give cars a luster and shine more vibrant and vivid than most factory paint jobs. Moreover, a vinyl wrap retains this luster throughout the years you leave it in place.
Vinyl wraps also offer visual variety in terms of style and color. While you could simply opt for a transparent wrap to protect the paint and add shine to the surface, you could also choose an opaque color or pattern that gives your car an entirely different appearance.
If your car is currently painted in a standard white or neutral color, you could have your car wrapped in a metallic red or blue. Or, you could wrap the car in some futuristic space-age pattern. There are various options that could transform a mundane car into a sporty steed. As you cruise the city and seaside streets during the summer months, your newly colorized car will almost certainly catch the eyes and envy of bystanders and fellow motorists.
Cover Lights With Protection Films
Just like with paint jobs, headlights and taillights can be adversely affected by the sun. Most lenses on today's vehicle lights are made of clear plastic, which is prone to turning yellow if exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. When UV rays make direct contact with the lenses on your vehicle's lights, the rays can cause the plastic to degrade under stress from the heat.
To prevent your headlights or taillights from turning yellow and losing their ability to light up the road properly, apply one of the following products to each lens:
1. Protecting Spray
To prevent your headlights and taillights from yellowing due to prolonged sun exposure, you can spray the exteriors of each lens on a recurring basis with a UV protectant spray. The spray will block the harmful ultraviolet rays that would otherwise affect the color of the lenses. In effect, the spray does for headlights and taillights what wax or sealant could do for the paint job. To ensure proper performance, protectant spray should be reapplied regularly according to the manufacturer's directions.
2. Vinyl Film
A more effective way to prevent yellowing on the lenses of your headlights and taillights is to have them covered with transparent vinyl film strips. As with vinyl wraps, these strips serve as protective membranes that shield the underlying surfaces from UV rays. With vinyl film strips, the lenses should remain crystal-clear for as long as you keep them on. You could even keep the lights looking like new for as long as you own the vehicle with vinyl strips on each lens.
Tint Your Windows
Glass panes can protect the interior of your vehicle, but only partially. When it comes to ultraviolet rays, the glass blocks UVB radiation but not UVA. The glass used in windshields is formulated to block out UVA rays, so there is little risk of harmful exposure from sunlight coming in through the front of your vehicle. However, the side and rear windows in most cars only protect against UVB rays. Consequently, the panels and upholstery in your vehicle's passenger compartment could be impacted by UVA rays unless you apply protective layers to the door and rear windows.
The best way to fully protect the interior of your car is to have the side and back windows affixed with strips of protection film. With clear vinyl protective strips, UV radiation no longer saturates the passenger compartment and dulls the color of the seats, dashboard and wheel. To lower the amount of heat and sunlight in your vehicle, choose strips with a slight tint. This way, you can drive with less reliance on shades or visors and reduce your need for air conditioning.
Vinyl Wraps From Rvinyl
With UV protection strips and wraps for your car, the exterior and interior could retain their original color for years to come. At Rvinyl, we offer a range of vinyl kits that can stop your car from aging on the outside. Explore the Rvinyl catalog for more ideas on how to transform and revitalize your car's appearance.