UV Protection for Windshield: Do You Need It in 2024?
Understandably, protecting the interior of the vehicle from harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays is a priority for most car enthusiasts, especially if you have any dreams of bringing your car to a show or meet-up anytime soon - or just generally care about preventing skin cancer (which you should!)!
The truth is that exposure to sunlight can cause a lot more harm than drying out fabrics and causing discolouration over time. UVA rays and UVB rays from sunshine have a detrimental effect on unprotected paint, materials, and most importantly human skin, which means that you should be thinking about UV protection both on and off the road.
While most of us in 2023 are aware of the harmful effects of UV radiation, the reality is that there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation about how protected you are when you’re sitting inside the vehicle.
Luckily - you’ve come to the right place! As experts in vehicle protection, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about UV protection when it comes to your car including the science behind what is happening, and how to avoid damage.
What is UV Radiation & Why is it Harmful?
What is it with UV radiation anyway?
Well, UV radiation causes a lot of trouble since it’s a high-energy radiation that is a type of “ionizing radiation”. Without giving you flashbacks of your high school science class, this just means that UV rays are strong enough to remove an electron from an atom or molecule - which as you can imagine causes all sorts of issues, whether that’s in your body, or on the surface of other materials like fabrics, paint, film, etc. This deterioration of materials that happens when they’re exposed to UV is why you’ll see things like fabric or plastics yellowing over time - the molecules that make up the material are being damaged by the UV radiation.
This is especially concerning because for many of us that spend a significant amount of time in our vehicles, we want to make sure we’re protected when we’re getting from point A to point B!
Not only that, but you may also be concerned about the leather or interior surfaces of your car fading or starting to degrade as a result of UV exposure.
While we always recommend wearing sunscreen, whether or not you’re protected while in your car has a few nuances to it, which we’ll go through below.
Do Windshields Have UV Protection?
There are various coatings and treatments that can make surfaces UV resistant - dare we say it’s kind of like sunscreen for your car? These coatings are made by adding special molecules that can absorb or deflect the UV radiation when it hits the surface of the material, which prevents the radiation from getting inside and causing damage.
If you’re like us and spend a good chunk of time driving, your first thought may be to add a special coating or film to your windshield to make it UV resistant. While a little extra sun protection never hurt anyone (as far as we know), you should know that the glass experts developing windshields these days have got us covered when it comes to UV safety.
Glass naturally blocks UVB rays pretty well, but it won’t block harmful UVA rays naturally. That’s why most modern windshields are given special treatments to make them resistant to most UVA to keep you relatively safe behind the glass. UV-resistant layers are typically added during the manufacturing process and are an integral part of the lens; over time, there’s no need to worry about it wearing out or fading.
Now, while the windshield is fairly safe, the side, back, and sunroof glass usually do not undergo the same, special treatments as windshield glass, and therefore are likely to let in that harmful UVA radiation that we don’t want to be exposed to. This means that you, your passengers, and your car’s interior are at risk if you’re not taking other precautions to prevent UV exposure.
Preventing Sun Damage While Driving
Windshield Protection Film for UV Resistance
While your brand-new Porsche (lucky you!) is likely to offer decent UV protection when it comes to the windshield, older vehicles may not be afforded the same protection benefits. Many windshield protection films offer significant UV resistance (often 99%+), partly to make sure that the film doesn’t deteriorate when exposed to the sun, but also to add an extra layer of protection for your vehicle’s interior. Keep in mind that a windshield protection film like ExoShield is actually primarily designed to prevent any windshield damage by adding impact resistance to the windshield - so the UV protection you get is really just the cherry on top!
As far as getting protection for the other glass surfaces on your car, many high quality window tint products offer UV-blocking benefits and can be applied to the side and rear glass to give you extra protection. All that being said - always make sure to wear sunscreen and keep covered if you’re going to be exposed to UV radiation for long periods of time - UV damage is no joke!
While a windshield protection film like ExoShield will block out most of UV rays from entering your vehicle, it’s likely that your windshield is already giving you decent protection against both UVA and UVB rays if your vehicle is new. That being said, with the additional impact resistance and peace of mind you get from having a film on your windshield, you may want to consider adding a film to your windshield - especially if you’re driving a classic car or older vehicle.
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