Every attentive car owner knows that cars last longer when they are parked indoors or under a shelter. From the UV rays of the sun to paint-damaging weather conditions, there are many ways your car can take damage when it sits exposed outdoors for too long. Of course, if your home doesn’t have a garage or carport, then you’ll have to get creative with ways to keep your car protected while it is parked for long stretches in your driveway or on the curb.
Fortunately, a garage isn’t the only way to keep your car and its beautiful paint job safe. There are several ways to protect your car when it spends extended periods parked unsheltered outdoors. You can build a shelter, put on a car cover, or even protect your car’s paint and integrity right at the surface layer.
Here’s how to protect your car without a garage at home:
1) Set Up a Car Tent
One of the fastest and easiest ways to protect your car without a garage or carport is to ‘build’ yourself a temporary carport with a car tent. These tents are a lot like the tents you’d see at festivals and farmer’s markets, either with just a roof or closed with panels on three sides. Car tents can easily be set up in your driveway to create temporary canvas-and-pole shelter for your car. As long as the tent is properly staked or bolted town, it will provide all the protection from UV rays and hail storms that your vehicle needs.
Choose the right car tent for your vehicle based on the size of your driveway and how you plan to anchor the legs. You may also need a larger car tent for larger vehicles (ex: SUVs) or longer vehicles (ex: long pickups). Be sure to take measurements before you spend the few hundred on a nice tent for the driveway.
2) Wax Your Car
Did you know that waxing actually protects your car from the elements? A moderate layer of wax seals in your paint, makes the car shine, and forms a protective barrier between your car and the outside world. Wax reduces weather damage, can protect the paint from UV fading, and can help to repel hail, tree seeds, and other debris that might damage your car in the surrounding elements.
Waxing your car is a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon and was once considered a normal part of car ownership. If you don’t have a garage but do love washing and waxing your car, this is a pretty great solution for keeping that paint job pristine.
3) Build a Car Port
If you own the house, you can build yourself a carport over the driveway. Many homes feature built-on carports added over the driveway during the reign of one of the previous homeowners. It’s a practical decision for any property that has a driveway but doesn’t have a garage. Building your own carport usually involves first building vertical posts on one or both sides of the driveway, then erecting a roof over the space. You can choose to extend your home’s roof system or add a simple aluminum roof for a quick and efficient home carport solution.
Your car doesn’t have to sit outside when you can build a roof over its “head”.
4) Throw Over a Drop Cloth
With good ties or low wind, you can throw a drop cloth over your car to protect it from weather-based paint damage and heat-based interior damage. A drop cloth can reduce the amount of sunlight your car absorbs by acting as a full-vehicle sun shield. It is also a physical barrier between wind, debris, icy weather, and other hazards that might endanger your paint job as the car sits in your driveway.
Drop cloths can be plain canvas or you can buy a custom car cover that looks like something that makes you smile. Some people like a car cover that makes their vehicle look like a turtle, a race car, or a classic micro-bus just for fun.
5) Trim Back Your Parking Foliage
If there are trees over your driveway, trim them back. Shade is good for the car but dropping tree seeds, sap, and bird leavings are not so great for your car. Less foliage is better when it comes to protecting your car’s paint and maintenance in the long term. So trim back any tree branches and overhanging foliage above your outdoor car.
For small branches, you can use hedge trimmers and a ladder. However, if you have an arboreal giant reaching long limbs over your driveway, you may need a professional landscaping team and their chainsaws to safely bring the limb down and clear your driveway’s overhead space without crushing your vehicle or you in the process.
6) Use Interior Sun Shields
Don’t forget to protect the interior. Just throwing up a sunshade in the windshield and a few screens in the side windows can significantly reduce the damage done by sunshine to your seats, interior plastic, and electric components. It can get hot inside a car with or without a garage and many car owners will tell you that sun shades make that all-important difference.
7) Apply Paint Protection Film
You can also apply paint protection film to the outside of your vehicle. Paint protection film is a clear polymer layer that provides a virtually invisible, protective high-gloss coating. It protects your vehicle from the wear of daily driving while keeping it looking great. A paint protected car without a garage will last longer and protect your car’s exterior from hail, tree sap, and other outdoor hazards.
Here at Elite Protective Films, we proudly specialize in XPEL paint protection film. Our highly trained technicians are ready to provide protection that is built to last to protect your car even when you’re parking garage-free. Contact us today to get started!