How to Protect Your Car Dashboard from Harmful UV Rays

In this article you will learn:



  • What happens to your car dashboard with prolonged exposure to the sun

  • Which Turtle Wax products can protect and restore your dashboard

  • Tips for protecting your dashboard from harsh UV rays and the summer heat

One of our least favorite parts of the summer is starting the car in the sweltering heat. From the moment you open the car door and get hit in the face with air so hot, it takes your breath away, to nearly burning yourself on the steering wheel, the inside of your car can be a miserable place to be—that is—until you get that glorious A/C going.

Although your car’s air conditioning does a great job of keeping you cool, it doesn’t do anything to protect your car’s interior surfaces from constant UV exposure. Most of us don’t think twice about wearing sunscreen if we're spending time outside in the summer, but when’s the last time you did anything to protect your car?

Your car’s dashboard is especially vulnerable. This soft, plastic surface is front and center inside your car, and, as a result, it spends most of its time in the sun. Over time, an unprotected dashboard can start to crack and fade, leaving you with the expense of getting it fixed or replaced.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to prevent your dashboard from deteriorating, and it all starts with UV protection! In this guide, we’ll explore the science behind UV protection for your car, as well as some easy ways you can protect your dash to keep your car looking like new for years to come!

The world’s longest tanning session

The average age of cars on the road has risen to about 12 years. This is because today’s car owners are holding onto their vehicles much longer than they did in the past and buying used more often than new.

During those 12 years, these vehicles spend most of their time in the sun, absorbing constant UV exposure. UV rays react with the polymers in your plastic dash in a process called polymer degradation, drying out the plastic and causing it to become stiff, brittle and discolored.

And UV exposure isn’t the only culprit when it comes to a damaged dash. Infared radiation from the sun can cause the temperature inside your car to skyrocket to 120 degrees or higher, placing even more stress on these plastic surfaces. During the summer, these sustained temperatures can cause special ingredients called plasticizers to heat up until they evaporate from your dashboard. Plasticizers are responsible for keeping the plastics inside your car soft and supple, which means your dashboard will become even more dry and brittle, until eventually, it even begins to crack.

A cracked, faded dashboard not only impacts the look of your car, it also poses a safety issue. Your dashboard houses some important components of your car including your airbags, so the last thing you want is a cracked dash. Luckily, we have some easy ways to prevent this damage in the first place, while keeping your interior plastics supple, shiny and hydrated!

Sunscreen for your car

In the same way you use sunscreen to protect your skin, our interior cleaners and protectants use advanced, UV inhibitors to protect your dashboard and other plastic surfaces inside your car. UV inhibitors makes these surfaces more reflective, allowing UV rays to bounce rather than absorb into the plastic of your dashboard.

The most effective way to prevent your dashboard from cracking and fading in the sun is to clean and protect it on a regular basis. We recommend our Turtle Wax Dash & Glass for a car dashboard cleaner that not only removes dust and grime, but also leaves behind a layer of powerful UV protection. Or, if you want a more general-purpose cleaner, our Hybrid Solutions Streak-Free Mist cleans, protects and shines every surface inside your car for the ultimate, showroom look.

These dashboard cleaners are super easy to use. Just spray these products onto the surface you’re trying to clean, and use a soft, microfiber cloth to wipe away any dirt or stains. Once you're done, you’ve already activated that layer of UV protection to preserve your interior’s factory fresh finish. And, once your dashboard starts to look dull or dirty again, all you have to do is give it a quick spray and wipe with one of our cleaners and you’re good to go! It's that simple!

Other tips for protecting your dashboard:

  • Whenever possible, park your car in a garage or covered parking spot. Keeping your car out of the sun is one of the best ways to prevent UV damage to the inside and outside of your vehicle.
  • Use a windshield cover to keep the sun out of your car, especially in the warm, summer months. Not only does this limit your dashboard’s UV exposure, but it also keeps the temperature of your car cooler, which can help prevent your soft, interior plastics from drying out.
  • Apply a car wax like Hybrid Solutions PRO Flex Wax to the outside of your car, including your windshield. This spray wax is infused with pure graphene, an excellent UV inhibitor and heat repellent, which will help to keep more sun out of your car.

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