Car sun shades are like sun glasses. Once you try them, it’s hard to live without them, especially if you have to park in the sun for more than 15 minutes.
As far as accessories go, they are a bargain. The main benefits of car sun shades are to protect interiors from harmful UV radiation and to keep cars cool in the summer or warm in the winter. As we discuss below, they do a lot more as well.
What is a Car Sun Shade?
Sun shades are foldable screens that come in different sizes to match the size of a particular car windshield. Once parked, drivers simply place the shades against the inside of car windshields.
Sun shades are usually held in place by pulling the driver and passenger sun visors down. Some have elastic bands or suction cups.
They are usually made out of a nylon polyester blend with a reflective outer layer. This outer layer deflects the sun’s rays, allowing only a fraction to be absorbed.
What are the Benefits of Car Sun Shades?
There are 6 main benefits of using car sun shades:
- Keeping parked car interiors up to 30 degrees cooler in hot weather (winter versions keep cars warmer in the winter by absorbing vs. reflecting sun rays)
- Preventing car interiors (e.g., dash, steering wheel, door panels, seats) from fading, cracking and warping
- Protecting infotainment systems and car audio electronics which can be damaged by heat build up
- Detering “crimes of opportunity” as would be robbers are not able to see inside as easily
- Allowing a personal touch (e.g., decorative prints such as famous works of art, tropical scenes, sports team logos)
- Providing privacy for drivers that stay in their cars while parked.
Ultimately, these benefits mean not only more comfort for drivers but better resale values as well.
Here is a good video with some real-world testing. The TFLT guys find shades keep dashboards 26 degrees cooler and ambient temperatures 11 degrees cooler.
Should You Use Sun Shades in the Winter?
Car sun shades are as beneficial in winter as they are in summer. Manufacturers make reversible shades with one side being black that absorb versus reflect the sun’s rays. The captured heat keeps car interiors up to 15 – 20 degrees warmer in sub-zero temperatures.
The second reason to use sun shades in the winter is that the sun emits UV radiation all year round. UV levels are highest in the late spring and summer, but can still damage interiors in the fall and winter.
The sun emits two types of radiation: UV-A and UV-B. UV-A drys out virtually any material causing cracking and warping. UV-B radiation causes colors to fade regardless of material or surface type.
Car interiors are usually made out of leather or plastic. Compared to car paint, these “soft” materials damage easily. Therefore, we recommend using a “sun” shade even in the winter.
What are the Leading Brands?
Like many car accessories, there is a choice between “custom fit” and “universal fit.” Custom fit sun shades are made for a particular make and model (e.g., a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee). Universal fit shades are not dependent on a particular make and model but sell as generic sizes (e.g., S, M, L, XL).
Some of the leading custom fit brands are:
And of course, there are always universal fit models, such as Amazon Basics, for those on a budget.
When people think of sun shades, they usually think of a car accessory to be used for a few months in the summer. As we discussed in detail, there are many more benefits of car sun shades.
This handy and affordable accessory should be used year round to provide maximum protection and comfort. Not only will you as a driver be more comfortable, your car will also look better and maintain its resale value longer.
The fact that shades are a bargain as far as car accessories go is just icing on the cake.