Sun UV Damage Car Paint

How to protect a black car from UV sun damage

UV light and heat from the sun can cause to paint to oxidize and fade over time.  The clear coat on modern cars offers lots of protection.  But adding wax or sealant will protect your clear coat and keep your car looking glossy and clean for longer.

The simplest think you can do is to just hand wash your car regularly with a shampoo that contains some wax.  Make sure you use the safe methods such as the two bucket method to wash your car.  And use soft microfibre mitts.

But to give even more protection you can apply a wax or sealant to your car directly after you wash (and dry) it.

The heat also makes washing and detailing more difficult.

How does washing your car protect it from the sun?

Bugs, tar, tree sap and road grime makes your car look bad but leaving it on your car actually causes damage, especially if it’s hot and sunny outside.  The heat from the sun’s rays bakes the grime in to your paint and causes damage.

You car try to cover the damage with wax or even remove it with polish but here I will talk about prevention.

Click here to read about how to restore a faded black car.

How does the sun damage car paint?

It damages it in a number of ways.  Heat and UV rays.  

Damage from heat

I have seen this in action myself.  If bird droppings land on my black car on a cool wet day it’s no problem to clean off with a detailer spray and a microfiber towel.  

But on a hot day the poop bakes on almost immediately.  It dries out and is difficult to remove. Even with plenty of detailer spray there is still a make left behind, especially if the droppings have had time to bake on there.  If you are a perfectionist like me the only solution then is to polish out the imperfection.

Heat also makes washing more difficult.  I like to use a foam cannon and pressure, washer especially if my car is dirty.  The foam needs 5 to 10 minutes to dwell but that’s not possible on a hot day or if the car is in direct sunlight.

Your paint must be cool to the touch for washing.  That’s why I decided long ago to never wash my car on a hot day.  Wait until evening time or skip it until your car is has been in the shade for a while and has had time to cool off.

Damage from UV light

There are good scientific reason that UV light causes paint to fade.  Maguiar’s have studied the effect in great detail and that is how their products offer such great protection.  Here is q quote from their online forum.

“Ultraviolet Radiation is known to contribute to the chemical modification of exposed paint surfaces resulting in loss of gloss, colour change, chalking, flaking and eventually destruction of the clear coat paint film by oxidation.”  : Source Maguiar’s Online Forum.

Why is it important to dry your car after a wash

Tap water contains minerals that can damage paint.  When the water drops dry the leaves behind theses minerals that can get etched into your paint.

A microfibre towel is a great way to safely dry your car.  Some towels offer great soakage so you can simply pat dry your car which greatly reduces the chances of scratching it.  Never dry your car with a bathroom towel or a water squeegee because they scratch.

I’ve had difficulty removing water spot damage caused by a sprinkler.  The water sprayed onto one side of my car while I was parked at a friends house.  I tried lots of different products to remove them. I eventually succeeded using an all-in-one polish product   Read my blog post about how I removed the fixed the problem.


What products offer the best UV protection?

Almost any modern wax or polymer product will give you some UV protection as well as protection from the acid in bird droppings and acid rain.

Synthetic products are designed to last longer and are more resistant to washing detergents so that will greatly help their lifespan.

Spray wax or spray detailer are the quickest products to apply and deliver great results.  But I like to apply a liquid wax every few months to give even more protection.

Read my blog posts on sealants, waxes and spray detailers to learn more about these products.




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