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4 Tips to Protect Your Car From the San Diego Sun

The weather is warming up, San Diego. Once we make it through the annual “May Gray” and “June Gloom,” we’ll be ready for summer. And as we all know, summer is the perfect time of year in San Diego, with average temperatures for July and August hovering around 77 degrees—not too hot or balmy, but just right.

While San Diego gets many sunny days throughout the year (146 on average), the summer sun can be intense. And while you can always spend some time inside and crank up the air conditioning, the same can’t be said about your car. You’ll need to take some special precautions if you want to maintain your car’s pristine interior and exterior. After all, you’ve invested a lot into your vehicle, so don’t let the sun ruin it!

What Does the Sun Do to Cars?

We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect our skin. UV rays from the sun penetrate your skin’s outer layer, leading to sunburns, wrinkles, and even long-term damage. But have you ever thought about what the same UV rays can do to your car?

Of course, we all know what can happen to the interior of the car when you park and leave it in the hot sun. But it’s not just the interior we’re worried about. 

When your vehicle is exposed to the sun, the UV rays can also affect the exterior, causing the molecular bonds in your car paint to break. This can lead to oxidation, premature fading and dulling, and eventual peeling. (Note: interestingly enough, some paint colors are more susceptible to fading, with red paint fading faster than other colors.) Before you know it, your car can look old and worn out. 

These UV rays can also break down the plastic coating on your headlights, causing discoloration and affecting the amount of light produced when you use them.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can avoid this kind of damage to your car.

1. Use a Cover

Sun protectors and other car covers are a great way to protect your car from debris, moisture, and sunlight. A sun protector (or sun shade) is what you place along your dash to cover your front window, inside your car. They’re typically easy to use, fold up for easy storage when you’re not using it, and can protect the interior of your car from getting too hot. The drawback, however, is that ONLY the interior is protected. 

Alternately, a full car cover can protect both the exterior and interior of your car. There are many types of car covers in a variety of fabrics, so you’ll want to do your research before purchasing. A polyester cover, for example, can easily scratch your car paint and also isn’t water resistant, so it’s not ideal. A Tyvek cover is a popular option, as it repels water and allows for circulation under the cover. Some even have ultraviolet screens woven into the fabric. 

2. Keep Up the Routine Maintenance

This isn’t the time to slack on your car maintenance! In addition to the usual oil changes and fluid checks, this includes giving the exterior of your car some TLC. 

Regular hand-washing should be part of your routine. Move your car to a shady area and wash with a soft cotton mitt and a specialty automotive cleaning product. Be careful not to scratch the paint— don’t scrub! Instead, use an auto detailing clay bar to gently buff any caked-on debris or pollutants.

After the car is thoroughly washed, wipe it dry immediately with a clean chamois or cotton rag. Air drying can be rough on the paint, as any water droplets left on the car can actually magnify UV rays and lead to long-standing hard water deposits.

Regular waxing is also important to keep your paint pristine. This protects your car from pollutants and UV rays, as well as prevents dirt and grime from sticking to the car. 

Some people also invest in specialty paint protection film (PPF). You can find DIY kits or you can go to a professional to get the film applied to your vehicle.

3. Park in the Shade or a Garage

Whenever possible, park your car in a garage (preferably) or choose a shady spot. The worst thing you can do is leave for hours on end under the blazing hot sun! Keep in mind that if you use a tree as shade, you might end up with debris covering your car—so that’s not ideal either. If possible, consider paying extra to park in a garage or covered spot. The more you can keep your car out of the sun, the better. 

4. Store Your Car

Don’t have a garage? No worries. Another ideal option is to consider longterm storage for your car. Giving your vintage or sports car that extra TLC, especially in the hot summer, is one of the top reasons to store your car.

Of course, you’ll want to look into the right storage options for you. Look for units that are temperature-controlled and covered, so your car stays in ideal condition. You can also find storage centers that provide door-to-door transportation, routine maintenance, detailing, and cleaning services. 

Here at the Vault, our car storage options in San Diego offer you ultimate peace of mind. Your car will be kept in good hands and it’ll be ready for you whenever you need it, with a 48-hour notice. With month-to-month storage options and no long-term contracts, you’ll get the best of both worlds: flexibility combined with best-in-class service from our team.

Want to learn more about our car storage facilities? We proudly offer 13,000 sq ft of car storage, monitored by a leading San Diego security company. Call us today at 619-333-8898 or fill out our contact form and one of our team members will reach out to you.