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Parking car in the sun at peak hours?

I am facing a situation where I need to park the car in the sun between 9-5pm in the west cost.

I never had to do this - so concerned that the paint is going to fade.

Should I keep an old car for this purpose?
Any other tips?

A coat of good wax will protect the paint and using one of those aluminum foil reflectors behind the windshield will make a big difference in the interior temperature…

My neighbor has been parking his black Audi outdoors, in Dallas, every day. Paint looks great 10 years later. I wouldn’t worry about it. If you’re near the beach the salt spray will be a bigger problem.

Your paint won’t fade but the upholstery will. You might want to cover the top of the back seat unless you have headrests. You don’t want to block the view. Don’t park under a eucalyptus tree or you will get dents and cracking of the clear coat.

I don’t get the problem. Do you have a different sun on the West Coast? Seems to me coast/no coast, East/West/Central, are of little consequence. Other factors would be far more important. Seattle and San Diego are likely to have slightly different effects.

scionf, when you live in the subtropics, like Florida and Southern California, it’s a good idea to wash and wax your car more often than when you live farther from the equator. If your car is red or black, it might not be overdoing it to wash and wax the car once a month with a good paste wax. If your car is a color other than black or red, you might be able to wait 3-6 months between waxing, but keep a close eye on the finish and do it as soon as the water stops beading.

You might also consider buying a good car cover made of breathable material if you really want to baby your car.

I would get a reflective shield that go inside the windshield, park facing the sun an use it. Does wonders for keeping the interior a bit cooler here in Dallas.

In answer to AL5000’s question, the oxidation reaction of the UV rays on the paint is accelerated by temperature, much like many other chemical reactions. The hotter the climate and darker the paint, the higher the temperature and the faster the reaction. That is why I drive white cars in Sacramento. My wife insists on red cars, and we have a lot more problems with her paint as the cars get older, even on the same make and model vehicle.

PleaseDodgeVan2 is correct about the upholstery. Quality window tint will extend the life of your interior significantly. It is illegal to tint the front side windows in California, so don’t tint them dark enough to attract the cop’s attention. Use a reflective panel in the windshield.

Everyone is correct about the wax. It makes the surface more reflective, protects the paint from tree sap and other substances, and should protect against UV. I use 3M professional polish and wax.

I currently park my white BMW at the far end of my parking lot, a quarter mile from my office, on the east side of a tree that does not drip sap or attract birds. I back in so the car faces east, and I put a reflective panel in my windshield to keep out the morning sun. When I go out in the afternoon, the car is in a shadow, and no one but me parks that far away so I get no door dings and the car is highly visible so the thieves leave it alone.

Millions of people do this every year all over the world…If there was a major problem it would have showed up by now.

Back when I was 16 years old and buying my first car (a Sunbeam Imp $600) paints that lasted a couple of years were more the norm. Today faded before you got home. Today paints are a lot better. You really don’t need any special treatment with modern paints. However if you like, a name brand polish or wax should do no harm and under some conditions can help protect your finish. This is a DIY project under $10.00.

As noted above, that sun can damage the interior. If I am going to be parked in the sun for a long time, I have a window shield thingy I bought some years ago. It helps keep my car a little cooler and should reduce sun damage.

Good Luck

MikeInNH, it shows up all the time. You can spot sun-damaged cars easily in Florida. The paint deteriorates from the top down. Sometimes I wonder if the people driving these cars have ever waxed them.

I wonder how much of that has to do with salt. Very few sun damaged cars in Dallas.

@manolito-- the post didn’t say Sacramento, it only said West Coast. Pretty sure the sun in Miami (East Coast) is likely to have more effect that in Portland , Oregon (West Coast).

MikeInNH, it shows up all the time. You can spot sun-damaged cars easily in Florida. The paint deteriorates from the top down. Sometimes I wonder if the people driving these cars have ever waxed them.

I’m NOT saying that there CAN’T be damage…Especially with paint…But for the most part the Sun isn’t going to ruin your car. It still should last several hundred thousand miles if properly maintained. And for the paint…Wax is a GREAT way to protect the paint from UV damage. My truck sits out in the Sun (when it’s sunny) every day I’m at work. Just one big open parking lot with NO SHADE.

The sunbelt does get more direct sun for longer hours, and that does dry out the paint more rapidly, but as with every other area of the country the key to maintaining a good finish indefintely is washing and waxing. Establish a schedule for yourself, perhaps once every three months, and watch what water does carefully. If it begins to stop beading at three months, shorten your paint maintenance to every two months. The idea is to wax it before it stops beading.

When I first went overseas I discovered the hard way that as one gets nearer the equator the sun really does become more intense. I burned very rapidly and vaery badly. I’m talking huge, leaky blisters.

If you get a lot of sun at your location (which isn’t clear from your post), then your car will fade more quickly over time, but keeping it properly washed and waxed will make a difference. Unless this is a collector car with an original paint job, it’s overkill to use a second car just for this reason. (In fact, it would probably be cheaper to repaint your car in ten years than to own two cars for ten years.)

The clear coat can turn white and peel on dark colored cars in the southwest after 7 to 10 years. Have a look at this Craigs list advertisement.

Wax at least twice a year. Spring/Fall. Use a good wax
Been living in LV, 8 years,and no problems yet with this schedule. Check carefully if going to tint. Make sure the tint is legal.

I live mostly in the mountains in Mexico, not far from the Equator. And, at 5700 feet above sea level. 2002 Sienna, a cousin urged me to build a cover to protect the paint. Older GM models here are all burned off, almost to bare steel. After 5 years of this, I can see no change on my Sienna.

Of course, while I do not wax it, I also seldom wash it. Maybe the layer of dust from the quarries protects it? Heh, heh.

parking in the sun from 9 to 5 I’d be more concerned about the interior being kept cool and invest in window tint and a sun shade for the front windshield.