What the Sun Does to Your Car

Living in Arizona the sun has gradually become the enemy to our cars, especially in the summer. If you have the misfortune of having to park outside in the summer, you know how hot your car can get; some parts of it can actually burn your skin to the point of needing medical attention.

You might think that your car is meant to get that hot and the only harm done is to your skin. To a certain degree you are correct. Companies test cars year round in the highest and lowest temperatures in the region to ensure optimal performance.

However, in these tests, the engine and inner workings is what they are concerned about. But with such intense heat, the paint, upholstery, and plastics of your car suffer.

The precious paint job

The sun does a number on your car’s paint. Regardless of who you are, your car sits in the sun at some point in your life. Whether it’s at the grocery store, school, or just at home in the driveway.

Unfortunately, after years and years of sitting outside, the sun gradually fades the paint until you’re left with those chipped, faded splotches on your vehicle.

Another thing that can happen is a different kind of fading. This type is more even and just takes away the shine and fades the paint to a much lighter shade. Although less noticeable, this type of sun fading is equally annoying and expensive to repaint.

The plastics

Now we’re not talking about the rude girls at school who wear pink on Wednesdays. No, in this case we are talking about all the panels, speakers, knobs, and slots in your car made of plastic.

As you might know, plastic and heat don’t usually get along very well. It’s not that the insides of your car are going to melt or crumble under the heat of the sun. Over time, the heat combined with any direct sunlight will slowly deteriorate the plastic in your car.

After a while, it will become faded and extremely brittle, being prone to cracks and breaks with normal use. It might even start to slowly disintegrate and rub off plastic powder everywhere.

The Upholstery

Similar to the plastics, the upholstery can take severe damage from the sun. With repeated exposure to the sun after a while, the upholstery will fade and become thin and brittle. This will cause it to rip and tear much easier.


Although the sun does rise every day and damages your car, there are ways to prevent and lessen sun damage without becoming an evil villain with a plot to block out the sun.

A great thing you can do is park indoors. A garage, carport, or any type of covered parking will work fantastic. Even parking under the shade of a tree will do wonders. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home, work, or the store, try to park in the shade.

Another method to help reduce sun damage on your car’s interior is to get your windows tinted. This helps tremendously in protecting the inside plastic and upholstery from the sun.

Other than that, always use a sun shade when you park in the sun; they help out more than you think. Stay safe and stay cool out there!



A: Ben Delamater

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