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Hi guys,

I just moved to Eastern Washington last year, which if you didn't know, is desert. I like to drive the Elise to work sometimes, but there is no covered area to park and for the last couple weeks it has been high 80s with 0 humidity, and the sun is bright.
It doesn't hurt my other cars, but I like to treat the Lotus pretty nice and I am worried that this bright sunlight will damage my dash/interior, so I have been scared to drive it to work.

Has anyone had any sun damage to their car, or is this something I don't need to be worrying about?

Thanks,
Pat

EDIT: FWIW, I do wax the car regularly and always use leather conditioner on the interior.
 

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My Esprit grew up in Texas and the owner didn't use a folding aluminum sun shade in the windshield when parked so the inevitable dash damage occurred with the leather shrinking and pulling away from the dash. To fix it properly the windshield has to come out so I'm learning to live with this flaw in the meantime. Parking in the garage is always a good idea but if left in the sun at work then cover up and get your windows tinted as well.
 

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I always use a window reflector thingy that folds up into a small, flat circle. Actually use them in all of my cars, probably keeps the temp down 20 degrees vs what it would be if the dash was cooking all day. Plus once you start the car and run the AC it'll cool down much quicker as there isn't a bunch of radiant heat coming off of the dash.

You could even take it one step further and pick up a 'shower cap' for the car. Essentially a car cover that just covers the cockpit. I feel the same way as you do, I have no problem parking my SUV outside all day in night in any condition, but always feel bad doing the same to the Elise.
 

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The dash will outgas and put a weird fog on the inside of your windshield. Also, my body panels heated up and the factory protective plastic on the access panels kind of slid off little by little. Other than that, no problems with dash or (light colored) seats from daily parking in the heat and sun.
 

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I think my car spent a lot of time in the sun before I got it, judging from the headlights. Because of that, I've been reading around, and the main parts to be concerned about are the headlights and coolant tank.

The headlights obviously needed the plastic ring TSB/fix for the sun concentrating and burning the black plastic buckets inside, so you should ensure you have that. Even if you do, it seems the stock coating on the headlights is really prone to crack, haze, and bubble, especially over the black parts up top where they get hottest.

I'd imagine that after a length of time in the sun you'd have to sand down your headlights and re-clear or stick-on protect them - or, if you just do it now and cover them with something more UV resistant than the junk that's on there, you probably won't have to worry about it.

The coolant tank seems to get brittle and fail for some people, and it seems to happen mostly to Exige owners in Florida. The combination of sun and mesh grills suggests that the plastic is vulnerable to UV. Thankfully on the Elise the louvres seem to keep the light out of there.

Besides that I don't really see what would be different from any other car, and I haven't heard of any other sun related issues.

The dash is plastic, isn't covered or coated by anything (until '08, when they introduced a soft-touch coating I know nothing about) and isn't glued together, so I doubt too much would happen to it.

The paint isn't greatest but doesn't seem particularly prone to clearcoat bubbling or failure.

A windshield cover / window reflector can't hurt. It'll keep the seat leather from needing to be conditioned all the time as it dries out, and if there are any dash issues it'll alleviate them too. Plus it won't be 100+F in your car every time you get into it!
 

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My god!

You're not actually considering leaving a british car outside!
 

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There was a thread about the coolant expansion tank oxidizing. It does look like sunlight may reach it through the deck lid vents and the plastic may not be UV stabilized. You could paint it or wrap it as a prevention.
 

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My Elise is older and the dash has I think been changed since... but it melted in the sun and I had to replace it. I use a reflective sunshade that goes on the outside of the windscreen and is held in place by the doors - it has prevented damage to the new dash. I live in Perth where summer temps regularly top 100F.
 

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Own a sail boat and you will understand the concept of UV damage!
 

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My sun visors curled badly when I parked my car in the hot sun for a few hours. I had a reflective shield inside the windshield but unfortunately I used the sun visors to hold them in place. So the visors were in front of the shield and really suffered.

So I bought new visors. Now I always fold them towards the passenger area when I park. I also leave the window rolled down a bit.
 

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2008 Exige S240
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2006 Elise: (left outside most always)
- The windshield trim discolored - portion facing 12 o'clock
- all plastic grilles turned gray-ish, especially the radiator grilles
because of the added heat from radiator.
- black portion of headlight cover that did not have paint film discolored _ the clear portion did not fade surprisingly (no burn-in)
- gauge cluster: speedo and tach faded and left ghosting behind the needles...


2008 Exige S240:
- no issues
- car is bulletproof
 
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