How To Protect Your Vehicle From Sun Damage

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As the planet experiences global warming, and each summer feels hotter than in the past, more care needs to be taken to protect from UV rays.

UV rays are commonly known to be harmful to humans. The sun’s rays are necessary for life on Earth, but too much sun causes skin damage and may lead to cancer. But, it isn’t just humans who need to be wary of the sun.

Vehicles can be damaged by UV rays in different ways. For instance, gasoline turns bad the longer it is exposed to heat. Generally speaking, this wouldn’t happen for weeks. However, for vehicle owners, there are more pressing concerns. And the sun could cause a vehicle’s value to drop.

Should vehicle owners worry about sun damage?

The average price of motorbikes has remained steady in recent years. There is no indication that prices will rise dramatically soon either.

Bike owners spent an average of $11,900 when buying a motorcycle last year. Typically, bike enthusiasts spend between $4,000 and $20,000. Therefore you would expect bike owners to want to protect their investment.

Car owners often spend far more than these amounts on new vehicles. So, once again, protection is necessary to maintain a vehicle’s value.

The sun can damage cars and motorbikes visibly. Some of the damage is more aesthetic than anything, but UV rays also cause physical damage to certain vehicle components.

What damage can the sun do to a vehicle?

Hot cars make for uncomfortable journeys. Nowadays, AC is common in cars, and window tinting helps to increase passenger comfort. Parking a car in the sun is a surefire way to make driving very uncomfortable until the AC kicks in.

Simple methods can be used to keep cars cool. Using car window shades is one of the most effective ways to block out the sun. And these shades also provide protection from the unseen damage that UV rays cause.

Damage by UV rays may include these areas:

  • Faded paintwork
  • Rubber and plastic components degrading
  • Dashboards
  • Seating (especially leather and vinyl)
  • Motorbike fairings

Fuel quality can be impacted by the sun in motorbikes. And fluids and other lubricants will need checking on more often in the summer.

UV rays cause the rubber to degrade. Seating made of vinyl and leather will be harmed by the sun’s rays over time. The most visible damage will be done to the bodywork.

What vehicles are affected most by the sun?

Taken as a whole, weather in general isn’t always kind to vehicle owners. UV rays from the sun are highly damaging to automobiles and to humans. But, hail, high winds, ice, and even rain can cause permanent damage to parts of a vehicle.

It isn’t only car and motorbike owners that need to be concerned. The ATV market may be dropping, but plenty of people own these recreational vehicles. While boats, jet skis, and ATVs, are all designed for active use, they still require care.

The sun’s rays can cause damage to a jet ski’s seating and top deck, not to mention the hull. Due to the nature of boats, they are exposed to the elements. Saltwater damages boats, but UV rays are very harmful. Constant exposure to the sun will lead to a boat’s gelcoat deteriorating. If the gel coat is damaged, then UV rays may weaken a boat’s structure.

In short, all vehicles need protection from the sun. Expect interiors to fade if left to soak up UV rays, dashboards to blister, and paintwork to fade 2 or 3 times lighter.

What sun protection is available for your vehicle?

One big reason why vehicles in hot countries are often white, black, or silver, is to avoid the problems with faded paint. Any car that has been exposed to the point that its paint has faded will lose value.

Therefore, it is well worth investing some money and some thought into looking after your bike or car.

Park in the shade

Parking your car or bike in the shade will reduce the amount of UV rays hitting it. Don’t forget that the sun moves throughout the day, so your shaded spot might be under time constraints.

Wash and clean the vehicle

Cleaning a vehicle regularly helps to prevent corrosion. Washing a car in the sun isn’t recommended because the cleaning products can dry before being rinsed off. But, cleaning is still useful for protecting against the sun. Some car wash soaps have limited UV protection included.

Wax your vehicle

Much better is to give a full service clean to a bike or car. Using a wax will add a layer of protection against UV rays and keep the paintwork bright and shiny. Be careful not to wax too often, but don’t neglect it either.

Use a bike or car cover

Another effective form of protection is to use a vehicle cover. Although it might seem a bit of a drag putting on a car cover, a good one will block out UV rays.

Use windshield shades

Car window shades help to protect the interior of automobiles. This can save leather seats from being ruined, and dashboards from cracking. It will also make entering a car far more pleasant.

Temperatures are rising, and 2022 was the 5th hottest year on record. Car window shades help to keep the glare of the sun from heating vehicle interiors.

Condition leather seats

Conditioning leather seats in vehicles will help to protect them. But, it won’t stop other areas of the vehicle being harmed by UV rays. Therefore, this should be treated as an additional precaution.

Tinted windows

Using protective film or window tints will help to block out a lot of UV rays. Tinted windows might help drivers in bright sunlight also.

Common situations for motorbike accidents and cars might involve bright sunlight or weather conditions. Sunlight causes damage to cars, but it can even be a danger to drivers.

What about passengers and drivers?

Cars and motorbikes differ very much in many ways. But, one area in particular is the windshield and passenger windows. At first, it would appear that passengers and drivers are protected from UV rays because of some cars’ windows.

However, studies have shown that not all car windows are equal. Windshields may block UV-A rays by up to 96 percent. But, sunroofs and passenger side windows are less effective.

To keep passengers safe, it is advisable to use car window shades while driving. Using car window shades for passengers will have the double benefit of keeping the vehicle cool and protecting anyone onboard from harmful UV rays. This is especially useful when transporting youngsters.

Summary

The most obvious damage from the sun will be to the bodywork. But, it can be costly. UV damage to paintwork will leave a vehicle looking faded and unsightly. The damage will either have to be fixed, or the vehicle will lose value.

In the case of components, UV rays may cause physical damage such as cracking, blistering, and warping. UV rays may even weaken and degrade certain parts of a vehicle’s structure such as on boats.

But, by far the biggest worry is what UV rays may be doing to your passengers. Car window shades and tints will help to protect your little ones from the sun while keeping everyone cool.