How to Protect Your Car’s Paint from The Summer Sun


Your car’s paint is one of the most important factors in determining its value. Although vehicle paint is designed brave the elements, the sun’s UV harsh rays can affect the pigment over time, causing it to break down and oxidize. This can leave the paint visibly dull and rough—and in more extreme cases, it may even flake off in patches. Different colors of paint are also more susceptible to sun damage than others, such as black, dark blue, and dark greys, but the fading in brighter colors is often just as noticeable.

The good news is that faded paint can often be restored, depending on the severity of the damage and your vehicle’s overall condition. There are also several things you can do to prevent UV damage and keep your paint looking its best for many years.

Wash Your Car Often

Dirt and grime on the surface of the paint can oxidize in the sun and speed up fading. To prevent this, keep your car as clean as possible by washing it regularly. Make sure you’re washing it in the shade, and use only soft washcloths and gentle cleaners designed for vehicles. While washing your car, use gentle strokes to remove the accumulated grime. If you have any areas that are tough to clean, like bird droppings or bugs, you can use a salt-free seltzer to remove them. Once you’re done, rinse your car thoroughly to get rid of any chemical residues.

Your wash schedule may vary depending on your driving habits, but in general, it’s recommended to wash your car weekly if it spends more than five days a week in the sun. It’s also a good idea to wash your car after it rains to remove mineral deposits, road grime, and pollutants.

Hand Dry Your Car

After you’re finished washing your car, hand-dry the exterior using a soft, absorbent cloth. This will help to remove any chemical residues that may cause your paint to fade faster.

Wax Your Car

Waxing is an excellent way to add a protective layer to your vehicle’s paint and give it a beautiful shine. You can think of it a bit like sunscreen for your car. Wax protects against UV rays and prevents the paint from collecting dirt and debris.

There are different formulas of wax to choose from, and each has a slightly different process in how they’re applied. For example, you can use pastes, liquids, sprays, and wipe on/wipe off waxes. Regardless of the type you choose, make sure to follow the directions closely. Waxing your car every three months or so will help increase the longevity of your paint, but don’t overdo it! This can cause a buildup on the paint’s surface.

Use a Car Cover

Parking your car in the garage is an ideal way to keep your paint protected. If you don’t have a garage, though, consider investing in a high-quality car cover. This won’t completely block the sun’s UV rays, but it will significantly reduce the impact on your vehicle’s paint.

However, make sure you’re not covering your vehicle when it’s wet or using a wet cover. This can cause mold to grow on the exterior if the moisture gets trapped inside for too long. It’s also a good idea to take the cover off for a few minutes each day to give your vehicle the chance to “breathe”.

Park in the Shade When You Can

It’s difficult to avoid the sun when you’re out and about, but parking in the shade as much as possible will go a long way in keeping your paint protected. Find areas of covered parking, like parking garages or carports, or park under trees if covered parking isn’t available. If you do park under a tree, keep an eye out for bird droppings or sap. Clean them off as soon as possible, as they can damage your paint.

Damaged Paint? Visit Cline Collision Center!

Whether you have a practical daily commuter or a luxury vehicle, these easy tips will help you keep your factory finish in excellent shape. A pristine paint job isn’t just about maintaining your cat’s value and aesthetics, either—it also helps protect the metal body from structural problems and corrosion that could affect your vehicle’s safety in a collision.

If you already have areas of sun damage or paint damage from an accident, Cline Collision Center can help! As your OEM auto body specialists, we offer comprehensive collision repairs, including painting, dent removal, bumper repair, aluminum body repair, and more. We handle all the insurance coordination on your behalf—and we even throw in complimentary detailing! Call us today at (707) 591-9909 or request an appointment online.

What’s Causing My Car’s Paint to Fade?

Repair of Aluminum Panels Shows Our Shop’s Commitment to Future

Have you noticed your car’s paint isn’t as shiny and vibrant as it once was? Although vehicle paint can withstand a lot, it’s not invincible. There are many things that can cause the paint to become dull or faded over time. Thankfully, understanding why this happens can help you take steps to protect your paint and preserve its longevity.

Some of the most common reasons car paint becomes faded include:

  • Sunlight
    The number one cause of faded paint is oxidation from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays cause heat to build up underneath the clear coat, which mixes with oxygen. This causes the molecular breakdown of the paint’s structure. In the early stages of oxidation, the color will begin to fade and become noticeably less vibrant. As the damage progresses, the surface of the paint will start to feel rough or dusty. Then, the clear coat will begin to flake off. If the metal underneath the paint becomes exposed, it’s at risk of developing rust—which can compromise the vehicle’s structural integrity and safety.
  • Salt
    Salt is very corrosive, especially if it’s left on the paint for an extended period of time. The sun’s UV rays will heat up the salt crystals, which can cause them to eat away at the paint and cause the color to fade. Salt can also cause rust formation.
  • Exhaust
    Believe it or not, even the unburnt fuel from your car’s exhaust can damage the paint. Carbon particulates are typically hard and jagged, which allows them to bind to the clear coat and cause the paint to become exposed. Exhaust particles can also contribute to oxidation.
  • Car Washes
    Some car washes use spinning plastic brushes that can damage the paint and cause the clear coat to look dull. They may also use strong soaps that can lessen the shiny finish of the clear coat.
  • Improper Hand-Washing Methods
    Just like the spinning plastic brushes at the car wash, improper hand-washing methods can affect your car’s luster. Harsh soaps and bristle brushes can lead to paint damage and an overall dull appearance.
  • Acid Rain
    Acid rain contains acidic elements that can cause damage if they’re allowed to accumulate on your car’s exterior. Studies have even shown that acidic material can remain on the paint after the water has evaporated. Over time, this can ruin the paint and even weaken the metal below.

Fading Prevention and Repainting

To prevent your paint from fading, it’s best to park your vehicle in a garage or shaded area whenever possible. If you don’t have a garage or shade to park under, you may want to consider using a car cover. Since various impurities (like bird droppings, dead insects, sap, salt, and exhaust) can damage the paint over time, you should also have your car professionally washed and waxed every few weeks.

If your car paint is faded or has been damaged in an accident, contact Cline Collision Center for expert paint matching and repainting services that will help your vehicle regain its luster in no time! Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or .