Don't Let Searing Sun Bake Vehicle Surfaces

Sunny weather highlights imperfections in dark finishes. Black accessories especially are vulnerable to dust from roadwork, insect splats, sap and soot.

The sun itself isn’t friendly to vehicle finishes, either. Ultraviolet rays can cause vinyl surfaces to weather and crack. Maintaining that showroom look for dark surfaces requires some attention to detail--and choosing the right products for the job.

Mike Pennington, director of training for Meguiar's, offers tips for protecting your vehicle’s finishes from summer sun.

  • Do not use wax for rubber and plastic surfaces. It does not provide the appropriate UV protection and can clog pores in the material.
  • Buy protectants specifically designed for rubber, vinyl, and plastic surfaces.
  • Windshield arms, molding, door and trunk weather strips, door seals and steps are among the surfaces that need UV protection. 
  • Look for products that specifically mention “UV protection” for plastic surfaces (headlights, taillights, parking lights, etc.).
  • Reapply protection whenever you wash your vehicle, since it removes the protective layer.
  • Consider a lens polishing kit to improve brightness of exterior lighting surfaces.

Read manufacturer labels carefully before applying cleaners. Apply a small amount by applying it to an inconspicuous spot such as underneath a seat.