Sun damage ruins the resale value of your car, here's how to prevent it

Arif · Apr 7, 2021 12:45 PM

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Leaving your car parked under the hot sun seems like a harmless thing to do. What’s the worst that could happen? Just a hot cabin, right? The truth is, the sun can damage your car after extended periods of exposure and this hurts the resale value of your car.

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Peeled clear coat. Photo: detailxperts

Just like our skin, the car’s paint, rubber parts, and upholstery can only withstand that much sun. Things dry up and age faster when exposed to UV rays. Visible effects of sun damage are:

  • Oxidation and fading of automobile paint
  • Discolouration of plastics
  • Drying of leather upholstery
  • Drying of rubber trims
  • Oxidation and fading of paint

Oxidation and fading of paint

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Your car’s paint consists of several layers, namely the primer, base coat, and clear coat. The most obvious effect of sun damage is oxidation, or fading of the car’s paint. Oxidative deterioration is a slow process and can go unnoticed for 2 months.

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Photo

UV rays from the sun accelerate the oxidation process of the paint and cause it to fade. Just like rust, oxidation of paint is not the formation of residue on top of the existing the surface, but simply the molecules of the material itself losing electrons.

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Sun damage to the paint can still be easily rectified if it has not penetrated the clear coat. If the clear coat layer has been penetrated, the repair work can be rather tedious.

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Photo

Good paint shops will be able to restore your car's paint, but it will never beat the quality of the original factory paint job.

Drying of leather upholstery

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Closer to our very own skin is the leather upholstery in your car. Too much exposure to the sun will cause the natural oils in the leather to dry out, stiffen, and eventually crack.

Although automotive leather is already made to be more resilient to stretching and bagging, long exposure to the sun will still cause it to dry and crack.

Also Read: Selling your car soon? Here's how to ensure you get the highest price

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Besides stiffening and cracking, long exposure to the sun can also cause stains on the leather upholstery to get baked into the surface. Stains are generally easy to remove, but long exposure to the sun can make them tougher to clean.

Fading of plastics

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Photo: bimmertips

Black plastic parts also fade after long exposures under the sun. Fading of plastics is not as severe as oxidised paint and dried leather and there are products that help to restore the black shine of black plastics easily. Black plastic parts are also easily replaced, so if it ever becomes an eyesore, you have the easy option of buying a brand-new replacement.

Drying of rubber parts

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Photo: carfromjapan

Lastly, soft rubber also gets damaged by the sun. Soft rubber parts include the windshield wipers, door rubbers, and weather strips. The sun dries these things up and eventually makes them lose their effectiveness.

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Long exposure to the sun can damage the weather strips and render them less effective.

Sun-damaged weather strip or door rubber could cause water to enter the cabin. Not a good thing if you want to retain the resale value of your car.

How to protect your car from the sun?

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It’s pretty obvious really – don’t leave your car out under the sun for extended periods. It’s easy if you’re fortunate enough to have a shaded parking area where you live and where you work.

If you don’t, the next best thing is to keep your car covered. This isn’t the most practical solution for frequent use, but is good if you are going to leave your car parked for a long time. If you're getting a car cover, invest in one of good quality.

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Get a good quality car cover to keep your car in mint condition.

If you don’t have a shaded parking and find a car cover too troublesome, you can minimise the sun damage by using a sun shade in your car. This only protects the interior of your car but is good enough to minimise the damage.

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Sun shades can help to protect the car's interior from harsh UV rays. Photo

What about when you're driving your car? How to protect it from the harmful UV rays? Well, you could apply protective layers on the car itself like wax and window tint.

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Tinted windows can protect the interior from harmful UV rays. Photo

The wax will protect the clear coat on your car and the window tint will minimise the damage to interior parts like the dashboard and upholstery.

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Protecting your car from sun damage does require some effort and some additional costs, but helps to preserve the condition of your and its resale value.

This post is made in partnership with Carsome.my.

Also Read: What paperwork do you need before selling your car?

Arif

Writer

Previously an engineer in an automotive manufacturing company and a highway concessionaire. A part-time research student on biofuels and diesel engines. Obsessed with vehicle electrification and the future of transportation.

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