The benefits of washing your car in the shade.

Although warm, not hot, water is recommended when washing a car, it’s recommended that car be under shade where possible. If not, then an early morning wash is a viable alternative.

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Heat can be a wonderful thing. It’s responsible for cooking bacon and eggs, sautéing up some onions, and helps water when we’re scrubbing off dirt from gardening.

However, when it comes to the paint and metal on your car, it can be an enemy, especially when going to wash the car.

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Although warm, not hot, water is recommended when washing a car, it’s recommended that car be under shade where possible. If not, then an early morning wash is a viable alternative.

The main reason is to do with the surface tension of the paint. Heat from the sun expands the paint although it’s not visible to the eye. This means any microscopic scratches also expand and there is more chance of the water and detergent molecules getting into those cracks, and as the surface cools, and water being incompressible, the water will push back and keep those cracks open.

Another reason is evaporation. A hot surface will evaporate the water and detergent mix faster than in cooler conditions. Evaporation then leaves water spots in the paint and clear coat, which then requires extra polishing or drying to alleviate the marks becoming permanent.

The sun’s UV emissions, which are around 95% UV-A, with the rest UV-B and hints of UV-C (which largely get trapped by the ozone layer) is a contributor to the way a car’s paint can wear and fade, and again because this is invisible, it’s the “better safe than sorry” part of why shade washing is the far better option. Oh, and it will minimise the chance of getting sunburned skin on you too.