Can the Eclipse Light Harm Your Car? Dos & Don’ts

The 2024 Solar Eclipse taking place on April 8th is notable for its path of totality crossing through North America, making it visible to millions of people across Mexico, the United States, and Canada. For most Canadians, the opportunity to witness a full solar eclipse has been a rare event since the last one in 1979. After the eclipse in 2024, the next chance won’t come around until the year 2144, making it an extraordinary moment that shouldn’t be missed.

In Ontario, the solar eclipse is anticipated to begin shortly after 2:00 p.m. and will continue for around two and a half hours. The peak of the eclipse, when the sun is completely covered, is predicted to occur between 3:20 and 3:25 p.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)

But can the eclipse light damage your car? The short answer is no. The light from a solar eclipse is not different from regular sunlight. The sun’s UV rays can be harmful to your car’s finish over time, leading to oxidation and fading of the paint, but an eclipse does not intensify this effect. Regular washing, waxing, and maintenance are your best defence against sun damage to your car’s exterior.

However, being prepared and mindful during an eclipse is essential to safely enjoy the event. Here at Valet Car Wash, we’ve compiled a guide to ensure you make the most out of this rare occurrence.

What to Do:

Picture of the full moon rising in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta

Find a Prime Viewing Spot

Research the best locations within the eclipse’s path of totality. The prime location to view is Niagara Falls & Fort Erie where the total eclipse will last for 3 minutes. Following its path, the eclipse’s shadow will next sweep across the southeastern parts of Hamilton. While Toronto won’t be within the path for a total eclipse, residents can still witness a partial solar eclipse.

Protect Your Eyes

Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. Use ISO-certified eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse. Regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing the sun. When purchasing solar glasses, ensure they are marked with ISO 12312-2. This indicates they conform to the international standard for safely watching the eclipse.

A person and their dog, both with proper eye protection, looking at a solar eclipse
A picture of a busy Toronto highway at sunset

Plan Ahead

Expect large crowds and possible traffic congestion in prime viewing areas. Plan your trip early, and consider booking accommodations well in advance if you’re travelling.

Check the Weather

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared for any changes. If it’s cloudy, you might need to be mobile to find a clear spot.

Picture of a person checking if it's raining with their hand from under their umbrella
A picture of camera gear knolled on a wooden table

Capture the Moment

If you plan to photograph the eclipse, use a solar filter on your camera or smartphone to protect its lens and your eyes.

What Not to do:

Don't Use Unprotected Optical Devices

Never use binoculars, telescopes, or cameras without proper solar filters. Looking at the sun through these devices without protection can cause serious eye damage. Avoid using sunglasses, Polaroid filters, some types of welding glass, exposed color film, X-ray film, or photographic neutral-density filters for solar eclipse viewing. While these filters reduce the sun’s brightness, they fail to protect against harmful infrared and ultraviolet light rays.

Picture of a person looking through binoculars
Valet technician waxing a customer's red car

Don't Neglect Your Vehicle

Ensure your car is in good condition if you’re planning to travel. A visit to Valet Car Wash for car wash & our Valvoline Oil Change for a pre-trip inspection can ensure your vehicle is road-ready.

Don't Leave Too Late

With the expected influx of spectators, leaving early will help you avoid traffic and secure a good viewing spot.

A landscape of the Siwash Rock with a full moon in the background
Picture of a kid and their dad looking at a solar eclipse using the proper eye protection

Don't Forget to Enjoy the Moment

While capturing the event on camera is great, don’t forget to take some time to experience the eclipse with your own eyes (through eclipse glasses, of course).

Don't Use Flash Photography

If you’re in a crowd, flash photography can ruin the experience for others. Turn off your flash and enjoy the natural light show.

Picture of people capturing a solar eclipse with their cameras

The 2024 Solar Eclipse is a not-to-be-missed event that offers a unique opportunity to witness one of nature’s most awe-inspiring displays. So plan ahead and be safe 🙂

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