How to Protect Your Car When You Park It Outside

Ideally, you should have all of your vehicles stored in your garage when not in use.

The garage protects your car from the elements, reduces its wear and tear, and preserves its structural integrity, aesthetics, and future resale value.

But for various reasons, you may not be able to leave your car in the garage.

For one, you might not have a garage—you live in an apartment or house that doesn’t have one.

Or maybe you have a two-car garage but own three cars. One of these cars must remain in the driveway.

Or maybe you’ve turned your garage into a gym and don’t have space for your vehicle(s). Sorry car, you got thrown on the side of the road because of Gainzzz.

If you must park your car outside, what can you do to protect its exterior and interior from damage caused by the sun, heat, cold, rain, snow, pollen and pollutants it is constantly exposed to?

Especially with cars of the 21st century you don’t have to do that much. Thanks to advances in technology, vehicles can take a beating from the elements without degrading. But there are a few things you can do to complement your car’s built-in exterior protection. And if you own a classic car, you naturally want to take extra good care of your baby.

Here is a maintenance schedule to keep your vehicle in the best possible condition:


Do not park under trees. If possible, do not park your car under trees. If you park under a tree, you increase the chances of birds pooping on your car. In addition, tree sap, pollen and falling acorns can damage your car’s exterior.

Use a windshield sunscreen. UV rays and high heat can weather and damage your car’s interior over time. To mitigate this, place an umbrella under your windshield. It blocks the sun and keeps the interior of the car cooler, which is especially important in the bright, hot summer months.

Every other week

Wash your car. You can get away with less frequent car washes if you park your car in a garage. When your vehicle is parked outside, it collects dirt and grime, so regular car washing is essential. Washing your car every two weeks ensures that you remove dirt that can damage your car’s exterior. Follow our guide to the perfect driveway car wash.


Wax your car. Car wax not only makes your car look nice and shiny, but also gives its paintwork a protective layer.

Carnauba wax is easy to apply and offers a lot of protection for your car’s paintwork. You can buy waxes that have UV protectants mixed in for an extra layer of protection.

Car waxes last two to four months, but parking your car outside will wear out the wax faster, so wax your vehicle monthly.

Apply fairing protectant to exterior plastics, rubber, and moldings. UV rays and hot and cold weather can dull, fade, crack and weaken your car’s exterior trim. To prevent this, apply a fairing protector to your vehicle’s plastics, rubber, and trim once a month.

Apply interior protection. While using a sunscreen goes a long way in protecting the interior of your car, for added protection apply an interior sunscreen with UV protection to the dashboard and leather upholstery once a month.


Consider sealing or ceramic coating. Consider applying a sealer or ceramic coating to protect your car’s exterior for longer. You apply them just like you would a wax. They last longer and the ceramic coating also protects your vehicle from minor scratches.

Only use a car cover if you park your car outside for a long time

You would think that if you want to give your car maximum protection when parked outside, you should always use a car cover.

But most professional auto detailers don’t actually recommend covering a car that’s parked outside, at least if you use the car regularly. There are several reasons for this:

Firstly, constantly taking the cover on and off increases the chances of accidentally scratching your car.

Second, you only want to cover your car after it has been washed. Covering your car when it’s already dirty will keep it from collecting more dirt, but you’ll cover up the dirt that’s present.

After all, if you drive your car regularly, covering and uncovering your car day in and day out is just an ordeal, and it probably doesn’t offer much ROI in return for the effort. Regularly washing and waxing your vehicle and applying trim is probably enough to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.

The only time you should consider using a car cover is if you plan to park your car outside long-term. Make sure you wash and wax it before putting the cover on.

Here we go. How to take care of your car when you can’t park it in a garage. There are a few additional factors you need to consider when parking your car outside in the cold and snow. We’ll address that in a future article.

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