Your Car Needs Sunscreen, Too!

February 17, 2010
Miata baking in the hot sun.When I was a kid, my parents let me run around outside for hours without a thought of skin protection.  Being a fair-skinned boy, I'd get burns that would make my skin blister.

Over the past 25 years or so we've come to realize just how damaging the sun is to both us and our stuff.  These days, most parents are savvy enough to cover their children with SPF-30 or better sun protection, but are we as smart about our cars?

Modern cars are being designed with inherent protection features, but these features do not offer full protection.  For instance, automotive glass is tinted, but the tint level cannot fully protect the interior against long hours of ultra violet (UV) light exposure from the sun.  Likewise, many of the new paint clear coat systems have UV inhibitors, but the measure is not total protection.

Unfortunately, car sales professionals sell these fantastic new features as benefits, and new car owners mistakenly believe their new car cannot be damaged by sun exposure.  They are sadly mistaken.  Due to the ozone layer depletion in our atmosphere, UV radiation strength is increasing.

Protecting your vehicle from UV radiation damage continues to be a necessary maintenance.  Here's my how-to list for keeping your car sun damage free for 10 or more years:

  • Use a synthetic paint sealant product on your car several times each year.  No product on the market retains UV protection effectiveness more than 2-3 months.
  • Use a vinyl and rubber protectant with UV inhibitors on all exterior vinyl and rubber twice a month.
  • Treat cloth upholstery and carpet with a UV and stain blocker treatment once a year.
  • Treat vinyl, plastic and leather upholstery every two months.
  • Tint the rear and passenger side windows.
  • Use a sun shield in your windshield when parked outside.
  • Cover your car when parked outside for extended periods.
When these simple steps are taken, your vehicle's appearance has a chance of remaining in excellent condition for ten or more years.  If you take no precautions, your car's appearance will noticeably deteriorate in less than five years.
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