Paint does more than make your vehicle look great. It's also the first line of defense against rusted body panels. Of course, the best way to protect the paint is to park the car in a garage. If that is not possible, park in the shade or purchase and use a car cover. The sun's ultraviolet rays break down paint and cause it to fade. Some car covers protect your car from more than sun, moisture, bird droppings, and dust -- they also have a thin layer of cushioning that will guard against light impact, such as from a tipped bicycle or small falling tree branch.