How to Protect and Repair Your Vehicle’s Paint from UV Damage: During the Summer Months

  Black car with before and after being painted The Auto Paint Depot

The hot summer months can present a threat to the overall look of your vehicle’s paint over time. Just like our skin, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the paint job of a vehicle. As time goes by, the paint will begin to oxidize due to sun exposure. Sun damage leaves a vehicle looking faded and dull, with the formation of a white, crusty finish. The white residue is a result of the clear coat layer oxidizing. If left untreated, the paint will begin to peel off in small patches. Thankfully, sun damage can often be repaired. Our automotive paints and supplies here at the Auto Paint Depot can serve as a remedy to sun damage. However, the level of effectiveness is dependent on the amount of sun damage and the overall state of the vehicle. For repair tips, see the last paragraph of the post. In order to avoid this situation all together, closely follow these tips below.

  • Wash Your Vehicle Frequently– The buildup of debris such as dirt and grime can contribute to accelerating the oxidation process. We recommend washing your vehicle once a week. This will help to slow down the paint’s oxidation process. When washing your vehicle, make sure you are in a shaded area. Washing in direct sunlight will make the soap and water dry faster, leaving water spots. Seriously consider using a soap that is specifically formulated for washing a vehicle. Check out our website under the detailing and polishing section for what we use to wash our cars at the Auto Paint Depot. Be sure to use a soft cloth when cleaning; preferably micro-fiber cloths in which can be purchased directly from our website. During cleaning use gentle strokes to alleviate all forms of grime. A clever tip to get rid of stingy bird droppings and insects is to use salt-free seltzer. This will help wash away bird droppings with ease and will not damage your vehicle’s paint. Also, rinse your vehicle off thoroughly after cleaning. This will remove any chemicals that would speed up the paint’s oxidation process. Make this a part of your routine by cleaning your vehicle in this specific manner once a week.


  • Hand Dry- After you are complete with washing and rinsing your vehicle, you may begin to dry it off by hand. Use a soft, absorbent cloth or towel for the best results. In doing so, this will leave a clean finish free of streaks and water spots. Additionally, drying by hand better removes chemicals and minerals off of the vehicle that can lead to its paint fading faster. We have you covered for all of your car washing and maintenance needs with our extensive automotive supplies selection. Taking this small, but necessary step will prolong the overall look of your vehicle’s paint job. Our high-quality automotive products will help to keep your car looking clean and ready to fight off the sun this summer.


  • Wax- Car wax provides a protective layer onto your vehicle’s paint. The finished product produces a shiny finish that is so clean, its reflective. Wax produces an undeniably ascetically pleasing look, but also provides a critical function. In relation to preventing sun damage, wax is your best tool. The extra layer wax provides will act as a shield to UV rays from the sun, while also preventing the collection of debris. Think of this as a similar concept to applying sunscreen to your skin when spending a hot summer’s day at the beach. Wax is like sunscreen for vehicles! However, car wax does not need to be applied nearly as frequently as it does to our skin. We typically recommend waxing your vehicle once every three months to increase the longevity of the paint. Over-waxing your vehicle is not advised. This can lead to build-up of wax residue on the surface of your vehicle. Not sure what wax to buy? Take a look at the car waxes we offer today! Our high-quality car wax products are built to last. Be sure to follow the directions given by the product as there are many different types of waxes. For example, some types of wax are pastes, liquids, sprays, and wipe on/wipe off. Each one does the job, but the process is different. Take advantage of what waxing your car can do for your vehicle’s overall durability.


  • Use a Car Cover- As mentioned before in previous posts, a car cover can be a great investment when parking in shade is not an option for you. The best way to keep your vehicle out of the sun when not in use is to park in a garage. However, that privilege may not be available to you. Purchasing a car cover can act as a great substitute for providing the benefits of parking a vehicle in a garage. Be sure to note that a car cover will not completely block UV rays from your vehicle. Nevertheless, it is a much better alternative than simply parking in direct sunlight. Make sure your car cover is always dry, as mold can develop if left neglected to the elements. If the car cover is wet, moisture can get trapped inside and will lead to the development of mold.


  • Park in Shade- When you are out and about, look to park your car in shaded areas. If parking garages are not available to you, we suggest parking near trees as they can provide a good amount of shade from UV rays. Finding a shaded spot is not always easy, but taking the time to do so will help to protect your vehicle’s paint from fading. Also, be weary of bird droppings and tree sap that could possibly be on your car after parking under a tree for an extended period of time. Be certain to clean off the vehicle as soon as possible, to prevent paint damage.

If your vehicle already has sun damage, we at the Auto Paint Depot are here to help. Take a look at our extensive selection of automotive paint ready to match any vehicle dating back to 1940! We have all the products you need to restore your vehicle back to looking “good as new.” All you need to repair sun damage is an automotive clay bar,  1500 grit sandpaper, clear coat, electric buffer with a wet orbital buffing pad, buffing compound, and car wax. First use the clay bar to clean the faded service. Use sandpaper to remove the damaged clear coat layer and then begin applying the new layer of clear coat. It it recommended to apply three layers of clear coat. Let each layer dry before applying the next coat. After letting the area dry and stabilize for 24 hours, apply buffing compound to the electric buffer. Next, begin to carefully polish the new layer with the buffing compound in circular motions. Lastly, protect your new and improved finish with car wax.  All of these products can be found on our website. Results may vary based on the overall condition of your vehicle and the amount of sun damage. Good luck with your project!



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Stephen Vitrano