Sun Shade Buyer's Guide
Touching your steering wheel can be difficult after your car has been left under the scorching heat of the sun. The same goes for sitting inside your vehicle. This is where the sun shade comes in handy. It reflects the rays of the sun so that they wouldn’t come in direct contact with your car’s interior. This makes jumping into the vehicle and driving more comfortable.
What is a sun shade?
Sun shades are protective shields that are mounted to the windshield or side window of your vehicle. Most sun shields are made from aluminum but some are made of reflective polyester, and nylon. Generally, the windshield sun shade and the side window sun shade can only be used when parked. However, there are some states that allow the use of the latter while the vehicle is running. To be safe, consult with your local laws before use and installation.
Types of Car Sun Shades
Car sun shades are typically classified according to how they fit and are stored. Here are the most common types:
This type of sun shade is tailored to your vehicle’s specific make, model, and year for a seamless fit over your entire side window or windshield. Due to its collapsible nature, it is portable and easy to store.
As its name implies, this type of sun shade can be used on a wide range of vehicles. However, it will not be able to fit as snugly which means some areas will be exposed and unprotected from the sun. They come out cheaper than their custom-fit counterparts.
This type of sun shade opens and closes the way an accordion does. Due to its structure, it has the ability to stay put on the windshield better. The downside is that it is not that compact when folded and can take up more room in storage.
Reasons to Use Car Sun Shades
Although it may seem like a mere accessory, there are a lot of benefits to using a car sun shade. Aside from assuring a cool and comfortable drive even after leaving your car out under the sun, it also has a ton of other benefits that will help extend the life of your vehicle. Here are some of them:
Regulates the temperature of your vehicle’s interior
As mentioned earlier, the sun shade keeps the sun out of your interior or at least allows less heat inside. This allows the steering wheel, seats, and seat belts to be cooler by up to 40 degrees. Some shades are made up of materials that double as insulators during cooler weather.
Keeps your kids protected
Children have naturally sensitive skin. If you travel with kids often, sun shades protect their delicate skin from the discomfort and damage brought about by the sun’s heat. Sun shades also protect their eyes from the glare of the sun.
Provides protection against UV rays
Some car windshield sun shades have built-in UV protection. This provides you with more extensive protection from the sun and can even help prevent the formation of skin cancer in the long run.
Keeps your electronics in good condition
Excessive sunlight is not only uncomfortable for the passengers, but it can also damage the electronics installed in your vehicle. The car windshield sun shade prevents this from happening so you can get more use out of your DVD player, LCD TV, and any other electronics built into your vehicle.
Preserves the condition of your interiors
Extreme sunlight can cause the interiors to develop cracks and fade faster. Using a car sun shade protects your car’s upholstery so that this doesn’t happen.
Which side of the car sun shade faces out?
As a rule of thumb, it’s always the reflective side that faces out. The same is true even if the one you have is printed on one side. This is to ensure that sunlight is bounced off the way it should.
How much does a sun shade cost?
The sun shade costs anywhere from $59.00 to $178.000 at CarParts.com. The price varies depending on brand, material, and fit. CarParts.com has a wide selection of sun shades and other accessories that are handpicked by its team of automotive experts so you can be assured of quality and performance.
Picking out the best sun shade for your needs
The best sun shade is ultimately the one that suits your needs the most. First, you must consider how much storage space you have to spare. Each type of sun shade requires a different way of storage so check which one best fits your preference. Also, consider the coverage as each type varies in terms of how much surface area it takes up as well.
Another thing you should take note of is the size of your own windshield. Perform your own measurements and see if they match the dimensions indicated on the sun shade you are looking to buy. Don’t just rely on the description saying it’s fit for your vehicle. Although it’s the reflective side of the sun shade that’s going to face out, you still shouldn’t overlook the design. This allows you to bring a bit of personalization to your choice of accessory. The level of difficulty of installation also varies so choose one that you can easily work with.
How long does a car sun shade last?
This is relative to the quality and type of sun shade you choose. Some materials and designs last longer than the others. The quality control the product had to undergo prior to being released to the market also plays a huge role in its longevity.
Is a sun shade still necessary if I have tinted windows?
Yes, you should still use it as the protection the tint gives is not enough to keep the heat out of the dashboard. Also, sun visor tints cover only a small portion of the front windshield so using sun shades is a must when your vehicle’s parked.
Sun shades are more useful than they appear. Despite just being a protective accessory, it assures a safer and more enjoyable drive. It also allows you to get more miles out of the interior and electrical components of your vehicle which saves you time and money from repairs in the long run.
Picking the Best Sun Shade for Your Precious Passenger
When a family man chooses a car, it doesn't matter if it's fast or pimped out. All that matters is that the car is safe enough to drive when a baby's on board. While airbags and seatbelts provide proactive protection for your family, you also need a car accessory that will guard them from immediate dangers, such as harmful UV rays. So when you find yourself with a crying baby that can't take the glaring sun, it's about time you get sun shades for your car.
Sun shade size for your little one
A shade that is too short will not give you the adequate shade to protect your little one's face and eyes. But getting one that is too wide can also pose as a driving hazard. That is why size is the most important factor to look into when buying sun shades. In order to protect your child from the harmful rays of the sun, you should be able to effectively cover your entire window without making the interior of your car too dark. The best way to get a perfectly sized sun shade is by measuring your car's window and windshield sizes.
Different sun shades for different babies
When choosing the right type of sun shade, it is not enough to consider which one gives a better shade. You also have to think about how safe these shades are. Canopy types are smaller-sized canopies fitted to your child's car seat. In terms of protection, this type of sun shade offers the best one, as it blocks the harmful rays from all sides. But if your child feels uncomfortable with the minimal vision from this type of shade, a window sun shade would be a better choice. A car window sun shade provides protection from direct sunlight by covering your windows with an opaque or slight transparent material. Window sun shades come in to different types as well. If you want a more flexible sun shade that will allow you to move it up and down according to the weather, then you should consider a roller window shade for your car. But if you want a cheaper, but just as effective, alternative, then you could also install a sun shade with suction cups.
Other things to consider
It's true that children learn a lot from their environment and adding stuff here and there in your car can stimulate learning. But it is also a fact that your car is still a moving object prone to accidents. So when choosing sun shades, always check the make and design of your shades. Beware of the shade attachments and accessories that can be harmful to your child, especially inside a moving vehicle. These attachments can cause choking or can poke your child with the sudden brake of your car. Also, as a rule of thumb, do not install products that have not been crash tested to your vehicle. These can be dangerous to both to the child and the driver.
Installing and Cleaning the Sun Shade
If you've ever scorched your hands by touching a hot steering wheel, you know it's about time to get sun shades for your car. The sun shade helps protect the interior of your car while it is parked and out in the sun. So don't let your car cook up like an oven. Keep your car cool at all times with a properly installed and maintained sun shade.
Installing your sun shade
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools you'll need:
Step 1: Before opening your sun shade and installing it inside your car, make sure that your windshield glass is clean. Using a glass cleaner and paper towels, wipe your windshield area focusing on the inside ends.
Step 2: Open your sun shade to prepare it for installation. For easier handling, unfold your sun shade while you're inside your car. Don't open it outside and then force its way in. This can damage or deform your sun shade.
Step 3: Fit your sun shade to your windshield area. Start at the bottom and slowly slide its edge onto the lower end of your dashboard. Press the sun shade against your windshield mirror from the bottom up to the upper edges. It should be as close to the glass as possible to ensure that the entire interior of your car is properly protected from the sun.
Step 4: Some sun shades have suction cups around the corners to secure them to your windshield. But if your sun shades do not have these parts, you can simply pull your sun visors down and press them towards your windshield. This will help hold them against the windshield glass.
Step 5: Now that you've successfully installed your sun shade, you can leave your car anywhere without worrying about the sun's hot rays damaging the interior of your car.
Cleaning your sun shade
Tools you'll need:
- Bottle with spray nozzle
- Liquid detergent
Step 1: Mix a qt. of warm or hot water with a tsp. each of liquid detergent and borax in a spray bottle. Always use spray bottles instead of a basin when mixing your cleaning solution. It makes the application of the liquid to your sun shade easier.
Step 2: Open your sun shade and spread it onto a flat surface to prepare it for cleaning. Using the mixture made in Step 1, spray over your shade and let the cleaning solution sip in. Allow it to soak into your sun shade for 20 minutes.
Step 3:Rinse off the solution by hosing it down. Do not completely submerge the shade in a basin of water to rinse it. This can lead to wrinkles in your sun shade and can also cause deformity.
Step 4: Dry your shade under the sun for two to three hours. Once dried, you can fold or retract your sun shade for future use.