Just about anything that goes out into the sun is susceptible to color changes, including our vehicle’s paint. The sun produces different types of ultraviolet radiation, with two of these types, ultraviolet A radiation and ultraviolet B radiation, being of particular importance when it comes to your vehicle’s paint job.
Ultraviolet A radiation has a longer wavelength and is the type of UV radiation that is responsible for skin aging. This wavelength of UV radiation can break down components of your paint and dry it out. This results in cracking and chipping. Ultraviolet B’s wavelength, on the other hand, is shorter and is responsible for sunburn. This is the one that causes color alteration on vehicles and other painted surfaces. Typically, this is in the form of fading.
Just like the things you would do for other threats to your vehicle’s paint, like installing a SLiPLO Universal Bumper Scrape Guard, prevention is key. The following are 3 easy ways to protect car paint from fading:
1) Take Advantage of Covered Parking
The easiest, and probably most important thing to do to prevent your vehicle’s paint from fading is utilizing covered parking at every given opportunity. This does not only mean parking inside of the garage if you have one or some other covered parking area at home, but also means taking advantage of covered parking at work.
If covered parking is not an option where you live or work, scout out any shade you can find. This might mean parking on the side of your building that gets the most shade, or parking under a nice old oak tree. This is even a good idea when just running errands. The extra walk from a large tree in the parking lot at the grocery store is worth it when over time it will prevent your paint from fading. Not only that, a temperature difference of up to 30 degrees has been found between vehicles who used a windshield sun screen and those who did not. Parking in the shade has a similar effect and will put far less stress on your air conditioning in the summer when you hop in to go for a drive.
2) Wash Your Vehicle Regularly
Atop of your vehicle’s paint is a protective overcoat or topcoat that helps stop ultraviolet radiation from penetrating the paint itself. For ultraviolet A or ultraviolet B to affect your paint, it first has to be absorbed by it. Unfortunately, many common contaminants on the road will degrade your vehicle’s topcoat and allow ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation to wreak havoc on your paint.
Although it is not always possible to avoid contaminants, it is almost always possible to wash your vehicle after it is contaminated. For example, bugs often contain acidic materials that can damage your vehicle’s top layer. Since you can not possibly swerve out of the way and avoid every bug that is in your path, the best thing you can do is wash it off in a timely manner. It is unlikely for some bug guts to hurt your topcoat in 3 hours, but it is very likely if it is left for two weeks. The same goes for salted roads and environmental contaminants.
Just like the 6 cool car interior cleaning tips and tricks you should know, there are things that you should be aware of when you wash your vehicle’s painted surfaces. To not damage your topcoat while trying to preserve it, ensure that you do not use any products that are abrasive when washing your vehicle. Read the packaging completely so that you are positive that it will not be harmful to your paint or it’s top layer. It is also a good idea to give your car a quick wipe down after you’re finished washing it instead of letting the water dry off of it. Allowing your vehicle to air dry lets any possible minerals in your water to be left behind as the water evaporates from your vehicle’s surface.
3) Keep Up on Your Waxing Schedule
The sun’s ultraviolet light is very capable of breaking down organic compounds that are found in paint, which leads to your paint having it’s physical and chemical properties changed from what it was originally made for. This results in diminished paint colors and even flaking. For ultraviolet A radiation and ultraviolet B radiation to damage your vehicle’s paint, it first has to be absorbed by it. This means that it is wise to have a barrier between your paint and the sun’s rays.
One way to do this is through using car wax. Just like using the STEProtect Universal 3D Door Sill Protector DIY Kit to install a door sill protector on your vehicle so that there is a barrier between the sharp edges of your shoes and your vehicle’s door sill, waxing your vehicle makes a barrier between your vehicle’s paint and any UV radiation coming towards it. Take special care to make sure there are no abrasives in your wax so that you do not strip away the outermost layer of your paint during application.
If you want to take it a step further, you can always have paint protection film installed on top of your vehicle’s paint. Many paint protection films are great at preventing fading. Some, such as XPEL Ultimate Plus Paint Protection Film, have added benefits besides just making a barrier between the sun’s rays and your paint. Instead, this paint protection film is self-healing, activated by heat so all you have to do is put your vehicle in a sunny location for a while if you get a minor scratch and it will simply disappear!
Paint protection film, also often called PPF for short, comes in both matte and glossy, allowing you to choose what fits your style the best, be it flashy or sleek. No more worrying about a stray shopping cart bumping into your rear bumper, nor trying to find the shadiest area to park your vehicle in. That being said, waxing your vehicle is much cheaper and still gets the job done.
If you love your car, you'll love Sliplo. For information on the features, benefits, and pricing of skid plates, click here, alternatively, use our interactive map to find an authorized installer near you. If you enjoyed this article, check out our blog.