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.