Windshield shades are a great way to help protect your car from the sun’s harmful rays, which can fade paint and interiors over time. On hot days, windshield shades can keep your car cool when you park it in the sun.
But do they work? Are windshield shades worth it? Let’s find out.
What are Windshield Shades?
Windshield shades are large pieces of fabric that go over the front windshield of a car or truck. These days, there are even adhesive see-through shades that you can stick on your dashboard.
Shades come in various materials, e.g., canvas, vinyl, and aluminum. A complete kit comes ready with suction cups, adhesives, or other fasteners. Yet they all serve the same purpose; blocking sunlight from entering the vehicle.
These kits are for stock models and will fit most cars, trucks, or SUVs with standard windshields.
Still, if you want to protect larger vehicles like motorhomes or RVs, you may need to buy custom-fit kits.
Are Sunshades Necessary?
Sunshades may not be strictly necessary, but they are important. Windshield shades are the best way to protect your car from sunlight damage. Research shows windshield shades lower the temperature inside a vehicle by as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit!
This lowering can help you manage the unforgiving internal car temperatures in summer.
Are Windshield Shades Worth It?
Of course, they are!
Seeing the price of windshield shades makes you second-guess whether they are worthwhile. They cost $20-$40, with expensive versions costing $100-$200.
But don’t be put off by their cost. Windshield shades are most certainly worth it for anyone in their car.
Why are Windshield Shades Worth It?
Apart from controlling heat levels, shades also:
1) Reduces glare from the sun so you can see better. The sun’s glare can be blinding, making it very difficult to see when driving during daylight hours. This glare is especially true in areas with high levels of humidity and frequent rainfall;
2) Protect your car’s interior from UV rays which can fade colors (especially lighter colored interiors), and;
3) Keep dust and dirt out of your car’s interior (which may lead to more frequent cleaning).
Do Windshields Actually Work? What Are My Options?
There are numerous kinds of sunshades out there. It can be hard to know which will be effective and which won’t.
Some people say they don’t work because they crack or fall off easily, but others say they are great.
Is there any way to tell if a set of windshield shades will work before you buy them? Or should you try one and see how it goes?
Pocket-friendly Sunlight Windshield
The cheapest shade is a flat fabric that attaches to the inside of your windshield with suction cups.
These will block sunlight from coming through the windshield but won’t stop the heat. So if you use these shades in the summertime, they’ll help keep sunlight out of your car, but they won’t keep you cool.
Sunlight and UV Windshields
Another type of shade is more like an umbrella for your car. It attaches to your window frame and has a handle so you can open or close it as needed.
These can reduce both UV rays and heat from entering through your windows.
Still, they are not as effective as tinted glass or privacy glass. Most won’t keep you cool in hot weather. Why? Because there’s still plenty of room for air to circulate between them and the windshield. They’ll only block sunlight from getting into your car.
Permanent versus Temporary Shades
Permanent windshield shades
Permanent shades like AIFFERA Retractable Sun Shade for Car Windshield, 2022 tend to have a polyester and aluminum film. While some are retractable, others stick onto the glass with adhesive backing or suction-cup fasteners.
Adhesive types are custom cut to fit your vehicle and provide up to 99% UV protection.
They’re also available in different colors, so if you want something other than black, you can find it! The good news is that they’re durable and reusable.
Temporary windshield shades come in two forms:
- Roll-up shades
- Pop-up styles.
Roll-up shades are more traditional cellophane sheets that attach with suction cups, and some use magnets to link to your dashboard.
Pop-up styles are similar. But they have a magnetic backing you can lift off without removing any suction cups.
Both types are available in different colors but don’t last as long as permanent ones. They aren’t quite as durable, though still pretty tough.
Which Side of a Windshield Sun Shade Faces Out?
With windshield shades, one side faces out, and another faces in. Always ensure the side with the special reflective coating (for heat and glare) faces out.
In other words, the reflective side should face the outside, not the inside. If you’re looking at the shade from the front, it will block light coming in through the front windshield.
If you’re looking at it from behind the car, it will block light coming in through the rear window.
Remember, installing your shade well is essential in ensuring it performs its role. Otherwise, it won’t reflect away sunlight and keep your car cooler on hot days.
Does Leaving Windows Open Keep Car Cooler?
Leaving your windows cracked open will not make your car cooler during hot days, and in fact, it can cause more heat loss from the car’s interior due to the wind blowing through the crack while driving.
This cracking means you must run your air conditioner more often than usual. And the consequences are more fuel consumption and higher operating costs.
It is better to shut the window tight and turn on your air conditioner (without leaving any opening). That way, you’ll more control of your car’s internal temperature.
How Do You Maintain Sunshades in a Car?
Car owners use shades as a quick fix for glare, but most forget to clean their sunshades. If you have a sunshade in your car, here’s how to keep it clean and in good shape:
- Clean off dirt and debris from time to time with mild soap and warm water. But be careful not to damage the reflective material inside the shade.
- Clean up any spills immediately, so they don’t leave stains on your shade or damage it permanently.
- Don’t leave sunshades out in direct sunlight for long periods. Leaving it can cause fading and discoloration over time.
Lastly, store them well when not in use. Roll the sunshades up and secure them with a rubber band or hair tie so they don’t get tangled up and damaged when not used.
Are Windshield Shades Worth It: How Can I Protect My Car from Sunlight?
Heat and UV rays can damage your car–causing the interior plastic to become brittle and crack.
It’s essential to protect your car from this damage. There are several ways you can do this, including:
1. Installing tinted windows
Tinting your windows will reduce heat buildup inside your car by 20%. It also protects from direct glare, which may distract you while driving.
2. Using sunscreen on your dashboard
Applying sunscreen to your dashboard will help protect it from UV rays. Long-time exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause fading or cracking over time.
It’s imperative in summer when direct sunshine hits the dashboard all day.
3. Using windshield shades
Windshield shades help keep sunlight out of your parked vehicle. They prove helpful if you often park in places with no car shades or trees.
Are Windshield Shades Worth It: Final Thoughts
In the end, whether you like having a windshield shade on your car will depend on various factors.
First, you’ll need to consider what it’s made from: do you want something transparent or tinted? That and your specific needs will determine how much it costs.
The takeaway is that you don’t have to spend much money on a set of shades. And that most shades will fit most cars and trucks. But you must get a size that corresponds to your windshield size.