How Window Tinting Protects the Interior of Your Car

It’s no secret that window tint keeps your car cool in the sweltering summer heat, but many people are unaware of the sun’s harmful effects on car interiors in any season. Damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays are present whether or not the sun is shining, and they cause interior surfaces to crack, fade and deteriorate—a situation that gets even worse when compounded by excess heat in warmer months.

Quality car window tinting film blocks virtually all UV rays, keeping your car’s interior looking like new. Without window tint, all the surfaces inside are vulnerable to permanent damage—including your skin, as UV radiation is a well-known cause of skin cancer. 

Aside from your health, here’s a breakdown of how prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage various materials in your car:


UV radiation is the single largest contributing factor in fabric fading, including nylon and polyester, the two most common fabrics used for car upholstery and interior carpeting. Other factors such as humidity, age, and fabric dyes contribute to fading as well, but experts attribute UV rays to about 40% of the breakdown of chemical bonds that results in a bleaching effect (technically called photodegradation). Additionally, darker colors that absorb sunlight are much more vulnerable to photodegradation than lighter colors that reflect it.


In many ways, you’re getting your money’s worth with expensive leather car upholstery—manufacturers tend to use treated leather that is resistant to sun damage, but the protection doesn’t last forever. Eventually, sunlight will cause leather to fade and flake, mostly because leather has thousands of tiny pores that absorb and release moisture from the fabric’s natural oils. The heat from sunlight will slowly evaporate all the moisture, causing the leather to dry, stiffen, and crack.


Vinyl is a common material used for car upholstery, intended to resemble the look of leather without the cost. But vinyl, which is a type of synthetic polymer, is especially vulnerable to UV radiation. For reasons only scientists understand, the wavelength energy of UV rays corresponds to a particular bond energy within vinyl’s molecular makeup, causing a breakdown of that bond and degradation of the material. The surface color fades and becomes dry and brittle with a chalky finish, and no matter how much specialty vinyl cleaner you use in the aftermath, the damage is irreversible.  


Plastic is used to manufacture a wide variety of car interior components, from dashboards to door panels to every controller knob. While pure plastic cannot absorb UV radiation, most plastic auto components are not “pure,” and even trace amounts of impurities like oxygen and sodium will react to the UV rays and break down the plastic’s molecular bonds, resulting in permanent brittleness. Pigments and dyes are also negatively affected by UV rays, and exposure to them rays leads to fading over time.

Window tint is the best defense against UV radiation damage

Most window tints block out 99% of harmful UV rays, and help keep car interiors anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees cooler, which prevents heat damage as well. If you want to stay cool this summer and keep your car’s interior in top-notch condition all year long, Audio Shack’s window tint experts can help you select the best window tint for your needs and budget. We’ll also professionally install it with a lifetime guarantee on our labor. Give us a call or stop by our El Cajon location today.