Tag Archives: Sun Damage

How to Protect Your Car from Arizona Sun

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How to Protect Your Car from the Sun

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The sun’s UV rays are not only bad for your health but can cause damage to your vehicle. UV rays and the thermal energy (heat) they produce can dry out and damage plastic, leather, fabric, and other interior elements. The sun can also cause your paint to become oxidized, a chemical process that occurs when oxygen heat reduces the paint’s oil content and breaks it down. This can cause fading, dulling, and more. Cars are often among our largest expenditures, so maintaining your car’s quality as long as possible is critical to your financial health. If you can do so at little expense, that’s even better for your wallet.

Arizona’s climate is one of the hottest in the country, and the extreme heat and increased sun exposure can be extra hard on your ride. That’s why, if you live here in Arizona, it is crucial to know what to do to protect yourself and your car—especially during the summer. Here’s how to protect your car from heat and sun damage.

Protecting the Car’s Interior from Sun

Temperatures can rise to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit inside a vehicle parked in the sun, especially when exterior temps are as high as they are in Arizona. Worse, the heat stays trapped in the car for a long time and can cause considerable damage to the interior. Fortunately, there are methods you can use to protect your car’s interior from the heat and sun.

Protect Your Car from Arizona Summer Weather: Preventing Discomfort, Damage and Danger

Park in the Shade

The direct sun is the source of UV rays that can damage plastic, leather, fabric, and more. If you can park in the shade, we would recommend you do so to reduce the number of UV rays that bathe critical components of your car’s interior, like the dash, console, and seat materials. The shade also keeps the temperature low, preventing drying and cracking of the dash and seats.

If you don’t have access to a garage, it’s worth it to take a couple of extra minutes to find a parking spot in the shade. You can also buy a canopy to protect your car from the heat. As another bonus, parking in the shade can reduce the UV rays that hit your car’s exterior and cause car paint oxidation.

Use Windshield and Window Protectors

Windshield protectors are made of material that reflects the sun’s UV rays. These allow the car to stay cool and protected from interior damage. Windshield protectors are a handy way to keep your car as cool as possible because they are easy to unfold and place no matter where you’ve parked. You can also purchase sunshades to add to the inside of your car’s windows and pull them down before exiting your car.

We like this foldable car front window shade that you can pick up on Amazon. It’s easy to use, folds back up and has a clasp to keep it secure when not in use.

Consider Tint

Window tinting can reduce the UV rays that enter your car in the same way sunshades do, but it is a more permanent addition to your vehicle. Fortunately, this means that you will not need to remember to put a device in place when you exit your car. Reducing UV exposure means you can limit the impact of UV rays on your car’s interior and lower the interior temperature at the same time.

Use a Car Cover

Car covers can block the sun’s rays, which means the car will absorb less heat. Car covers do take time to put in place, and some people fear they may scratch the car in the event of severe weather. In the summer heat, however, covers do a wonderful job of keeping your vehicle cool. Remember, if you purchase a car cover, the lighter the color, the better.

We recommend this all weather, waterproof and UV ray protector car cover by Kayme. It’s heavy duty material and has a driver door zipper for easy access.

Cover Your Wheel, Cargo and Seats

When you’ve had a long day at work and are ready to go home, having to sit on a hot seat and touch a burning wheel are the last things you want to deal with. By installing a seat cover, you’re not only protecting your seat from cracking and tearing after UV exposure, but also keeping it cool so you won’t have to worry about hurting yourself. If you want to protect the supplies in the back from the weather, you need to purchase a truck bed cover.

Similarly, installing a grip on your wheel also allows you to easily grab the wheel without burning your hands. If your car seats or wheel cover are made of leather, consider purchasing a leather conditioner to keep the leather hydrated even if you choose to install a protective cover.

We love this microfiber steering wheel cover. It’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Plus, it looks cool.

Open Your Windows Slightly

Leaving your car windows wide open when parked is never a good idea, but cracking them just a little bit can improve air circulation and lower the car’s internal temperature. By doing this, you’ll improve airflow and reduce the heat trapped in your vehicle. This method should only be considered in extreme heat and if you’re parked in a safe location with no sign of rain.

Close Your Sunroof

If your car has a sunroof, make sure the interior cover is completely closed when you park. Your car’s temperature quickly increases due to the sun’s rays penetrating your windows and windshield, and more exposure via a sunroof can accelerate the process. Close your sunroof to reduce UV exposure and shade the interior as much as possible.

Preventing Sun Damage Under the Hood

By checking under your car’s hood more frequently during the warmest months of the year, you’ll ensure your car is running smoothly and not at risk of overheating. If you’re not car-savvy, meet with a professional mechanic who can assess essential components of your engine and cooling system and make suggestions to improve your car’s condition. If you prefer to perform checks yourself, here are a few things to consider when checking under the hood.

Coolant System

As mentioned, excessive heat caused by the powerful Arizona sun can overheat your car’s engine. In particular, you’re at risk of overheating if your coolant system is not in efficient working order. At every oil change, check to see if your coolant system’s belts are in good condition. You’ll also want to check if your antifreeze and coolant fluids are at the appropriate levels. Aging fluids or low levels of motor oil, brake fluid, and transmission fluid can also contribute to overheating.


Car batteries wear out over time, but the heat can accelerate this process. We recommend visiting a mechanic to make sure your battery is functioning properly, especially in the hot Arizona summertime. Using your car’s air conditioning for extended periods of time can cause excessive battery wear, and you don’t want to be without it when the sun is out.

Air Conditioning

Obviously, air conditioning is crucial when you’re on the road in the summer. While it’s important to check your car’s battery, you should also ensure other components of your car’s AC system are working efficiently during periods of heavy use. If it’s extremely hot outside, your car’s AC is working harder than usual, which can strain items like belts, pulleys, fans, and the entire coolant system.

Protecting Your Car’s Exterior from the Sun

Your car’s exterior is the most at risk for UV and heat damage in Arizona for obvious reasons. Although the look of your car might not always be integral to its performance, allowing the sun to damage your car can reduce its value. Ignoring the outside of your car can also lead to severe problems, and these are most common in the summer. Whether you’re concerned about faded car paint or low tire pressure, here’s what you can do to protect your car’s exterior.

Wash Your Car Regularly

Whether you prefer to go to the car wash or wash on your own, you’ll be able to get rid of debris, dust, dead bugs, and minerals. If you leave debris in place, it can scratch your car or worsen the effects of car paint oxidation. However, be sure to find a non-abrasive, gentle car wash system and avoid drying or polishing too hard to prevent causing swirls, scratches, and paint damage.

Apply Waxes and Sealants

Waxing your car not only helps your car look shinier, but it protects against the sun’s UV rays. Specially formulated waxes and sealants can add another layer to your car’s clear coat, protecting your car from debris and UV damage. In this way, waxing can help you prevent fading paint, dull shine, and pitted clear coat.

Protect Your Headlights

Just like your car’s paint and interior plastics, your headlights can begin to break down after exposure to the sun’s UV rays. The more they are exposed to the sun, the more yellowed and oxidized they’ll become. If headlights become cloudy, they are less effective in the evening, which is a dangerous situation for you and everyone else on the road. If your headlights are wearing out due to the sun and aren’t responsive to regular washing, try a headlight cleaning solution from your local auto parts store. Once they’re clean, try clear coating them or applying a vinyl film with UV protection.

Check Your Tire Pressure

An often-forgotten item when it comes to heat damage is your car’s tires. Tires can get incredibly hot driving on the pavement, especially in the Arizona summer, putting you at risk of a blowout. Heat can also age the tires very quickly and cause tire pressure to fluctuate. Keep an eye on your tire pressure in the summer to prevent any serious issues from occurring.

Automobile Sun Protection FAQs

Automobile Sun Protection FAQs

You can use some or all the tips above to protect all parts of your car from the Arizona heat.

Here are some of the most common questions people ask regarding sun protection.

Q: How Often Should I Assess My Car’s Sun Protection?

A: There is no set schedule you should use to apply protective measures to your car’s components. In Arizona, it’s important to stay vigilant as possible because of the intensity of the sun’s rays. If you notice your car’s paint or headlights are fading, your engine is running hot, or your AC is not keeping you cool, you should aim to resolve the issue as soon as possible. These issues can become increasingly severe the longer your car is exposed to the sun. Take steps before the heat of the summer and pay attention throughout the year so you can prevent issues.

Q: Is Car Paint Restoration Necessary?

A: Car paint restoration may not be necessary to keep your car running smoothly, and regular washing and waxing can help prevent sun damage for as long as possible. However, if the sun’s rays have oxidized the paint and you want to improve the look of your car, car paint restoration services could be beneficial. Restoring your car’s finish can make your car look new again and may even improve your car’s value.

Q: Is It Worth It to Spend Money on Car Sun Protection?

A: Absolutely. In fact, it’s worth it for both you and everyone else on the road. If your headlights are oxidized and cloudy, this can create a safety hazard for everyone involved. Similarly, if your AC is strained due to the heat, you can keep yourself and your passengers safe and healthy by addressing AC issues and keeping your car protected. If you take care of your car and protect it from the Arizona sun, you’ll be driving your car for much longer and maximizing your investment.

Protect Your Car from the Arizona Sun

Protect Your Car from the Sun

You spent a lot of money on your car, so it’s important to take care of it. The sun can be especially hard on your car in Arizona, but there are ways to protect it. Follow these tips and protect your investment. Make our site a regular stop for diy car hacks and tips.

*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published   and has been updated January 25, 20223.

Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most out of Your Car Wash

Car Cleaning Hacks Tips And Tricks Car Wash - Red Mountain Funding Mesa AZ

Washing your car may seem like an ordinary part of your weekly or monthly routine, but there are several ways you can make the most out of washing your vehicle. The result? It looks clean and brand new for as long as possible.

There are many commercial options for washing your vehicle, and you can easily buy the supplies you need to wash it at home. However you decide to handle your car washes in the future, keep the following tips in mind to get the most out of every wash.

Commercial Car Washes

The most common type of commercial car wash is a standard tunnel-style wash that uses water jets and brushes to clean your vehicle. The driver pulls his or her vehicle into the tunnel track, puts the car in neutral, and the car wash guides the vehicle through the different cleaning devices.

Automatic Washes Are Fast and Cheap

Touchless Car Wash Washworld - Red Mountain Funding

A Touchless Automatic Car Wash System (Twitter Photo/@Washworld)

An automatic car wash is a fast and relatively effective way to clean your vehicle, but it may not leave it entirely clean. Additionally, hard bristles or damaged brushes can actually scratch away at your vehicle’s paint and lead to rusting.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for when you drive through a traditional automatic car wash, and repeated automatic washings may cause expensive damage to your vehicle’s paint job.

Some commercial car washes have installed “touchless” washing systems that do not use brushes or bristles to physically touch the car. Instead, a touchless car wash uses a series of high-powered water jets and cleaning agent sprays to clean your vehicle.

While a touchless system is a viable alternative to traditional tunnel-style car washes with brush-based cleaning systems – which may damage your paint or sensitive parts like mirrors and antennae – it may not leave your car completely clean and spot free.

Professional Detailers

A professional detailing service will undoubtedly offer the best cleaning service, but it will also cost the most. A detailer will clean your vehicle meticulously by hand and will often offer various additional services, such as interior cleaning, cosmetic repairs, scratch and dent repairs, and window and headlight cleaning.

If you want an extensive cleaning, or your vehicle hasn’t had a proper, thorough washing in a long time, paying for a professional detailing service may be worth the expense.

Washing Your Own Car

Many commercial car washes offer tiered pricing for customers to combine exterior cleaning, interior cleaning, waxing and other services into a single wash session. While some commercial car wash companies offer membership discounts and frequent buyer programs, these options can be expensive, especially compared to the cost of washing your vehicle yourself. Washing your own car gives you complete control, and helps you save money.

Self-Service Wash Stations

Some commercial washing establishments offer self-service car wash stations. These buildings usually feature enclosed parking spaces with extendable tools that apply soap and water. A driver will park in a washing space and then put money into the system to pay for a certain amount of time (usually a few dollars for several minutes of washing time).

Next, the driver applies soap, scrubs the car with the supplied brush or sponge, and then rinses the vehicle with the water sprayer. Some self-service stations offer a wax coating spray as well, but these sprays rarely compare to a professional waxing job and may actually cause more water-spotting.

Washing Your Car at Home

Car Wash At Home angelmercado279 - Red Mountain Funding

At-Home DIY Car Washing (Twitter Photo/@angelmercado279)

Of course, if you plan to wash your car yourself, you can save even more money by skipping the self-service station and washing your vehicle at home. A hose attached to your home’s outdoor spigot with an adjustable head attachment will allow you to spray grime, mud and dirt off your vehicle with a high-powered stream of water. You can then adjust the sprayer for a gentler mist to rinse the car at the end.

If you plan to wash your car at home, make sure you research and purchase the car soap and other supplies needed. You should only ever wash the exterior of your car with a sponge or soft cloth to avoid scraping or damaging your paint and windows.

It’s also important for Mesa, AZ residents to follow the Mesa car washing guidelines the city has established. Due to the low annual rainfall in Mesa, the city’s water and sewer systems are more vulnerable to contamination from cleaning agents and runoff from dirty vehicles.

You’ll need to use phosphate-free detergents sparingly and make sure the wastewater doesn’t enter the city sewer system. The best method for washing at home is by hand using only water and a soft sponge.

Car Cleaning Hacks for You to Try

Clean Off Windshield Wipers mblagunaniguel - Red Mountain Funding

Maintain Your Wiper Blades (Twitter Photo/@mblagunaniguel)

The first step in washing your car in Mesa is to determine how extensive you need to be in your cleaning. Engine or undercarriage cleaning may require an appointment with a professional detailer, so that you don’t inadvertently violate the city’s car washing ordinances. You may also be able to wash your engine or undercarriage at a self-service station that allows this type of cleaning.

There are several car cleaning hacks that can make your car look even better, and some of them might surprise you:

  • Did you know that a hair conditioner with lanolin creates a just-waxed shine and even repels rain? Apply hair conditioner to your vehicle after washing and then rinse clean for a spectacular shine.
  • You can also use window cleaner and an old pair of pantyhose to make your headlights shine again. Over time, headlights become cloudy and may actually pose a safety risk when driving at night.
  • If you’re looking for a simple window and windshield cleaner, mix one part household ammonia with four parts water in a spray bottle. Keep the spray bottle in your vehicle and spray and wipe clean whenever your windows or windshield become dirty.
  • It’s also a good idea to check your wiper blades regularly. If your wipers are dirty, they’ll streak your windshield instead of cleaning it. You can clean the blades with a mixture of a 1/4 cup ammonia and 1 quart of cold water. Soak a soft cloth or paper towel in this solution, wipe it along both blades and then use a dry cloth to wipe off the solution before lowering the blades back into place.

Protect Your Vehicle from the Arizona Sun

While Mesa residents don’t have to worry about rainfall too often, the Arizona sun can pose serious problems for any vehicle here. Intense heat and direct sunlight can damage your vehicle’s exterior as well as the interior. Grime, dust and salt that stays on your car for too long will bake in the sun and cause additional damage.

Your vehicle’s dashboard receives the brunt of the sunlight that enters your vehicle through the windshield, so consider investing in sun shades. Sunlight can also damage the cloth or leather of your vehicle’s seats and cause them to discolor or fade over time.

Learn more car care tips for dealing with the Arizona sun by visiting our previous article:

Protect Your Car from Arizona’s Intense Sunlight