Parking Your Car Under Trees: Is It Even Smart?

While parking under a tree is a great idea to protect your car from the sun or even from the storm, it might not be the smartest choice. In this post, I’ll show you why you should avoid parking your car under trees in most cases.

Key Takeaways:

  • You should avoid parking your car under trees, especially under evergreen trees, because they’re usually full of tree sap.
  • If you park under the tree, there’s a risk of branches, fruits, tree sap, and other contaminants falling into your vehicle, potentially damaging it.
  • Parking under the tree may be a good idea during hailstorms or if you’re looking for a quick shade to stop for lunch or something.

Should You Park Your Car Under Trees

car parked under the tree, illustration

Parking under trees might seem like a clever idea at first glance. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a cool car on a hot day?

But hold on, let’s reconsider.

Parking under trees, especially in the long term, might not be the best plan for your beloved vehicle. There are various hidden hazards lurking that could lead to unnecessary expenses.

Before you position your car under that welcoming shade, let’s take a step back and examine the potential pitfalls. Trust me; it might just save you some serious cash in the long run.

Why It’s Not a Smart Choice

tree branch damaged the car

Here’s why I think it’s not a smart choice to park your car under the tree:

  • Tree Sap. This sticky substance is notoriously difficult to remove from cars. It can damage your vehicle’s clear coat, making your car look unpleasant and sticky. This is particularly true if you’re parking under trees like a cypress.
  • Falling Fruits. Although not a common issue, fruits falling from trees during windy or stormy days can cause unexpected damage to your car.
  • Insects. Trees house numerous insects, and parking under trees allows these critters easy access to your car – they might even make their way inside. Removing bugs from a car isn’t extremely simple.
  • Leaves. They can harm your car’s paint, especially when it’s raining or just after the rain. Leaves can stick to the car’s paint and can be tough to remove. Not to mention needles from some trees, which can clog up your ventilation system, drains, and more.
  • Tree Branches. Parking under trees exposes your car to the risk of falling branches, which can cause scratches or even break the car’s glass.

Check the video below to see what the tree does to the car. That wouldn’t happen if the car was in the sun.

Avoid These Trees at All Costs

It’s not just a matter of avoiding trees altogether but also knowing which ones to stay clear of.

Here are some offenders that you’d do well to steer clear of:

  • Pine Trees. Known for their excessive sap production, pines can leave your vehicle in a sticky mess. Plus, the fallen pine needles can clog your drains and vents.
  • Oak Trees. Besides their potential to drop acorns onto your car, they also host various insects that could invade your vehicle.
  • Linden Trees. Famous for their fragrant flowers, these trees, unfortunately, attract a multitude of bugs. Plus, they’re also known to drop a substantial amount of sap.
  • Fruit Trees. Cherry, apple, pear, or any other fruit-bearing trees can drop their produce onto your car, which is less than ideal, to say the least.
  • Old and Rotten Trees. These are the worst culprits, as their twigs and branches can fall at any moment, causing severe damage to your car.

Remember, it’s not about demonizing all trees but being smart about where you park. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Situations in Which You Should Park Under The Tree

Despite the potential hazards, there are certain situations where parking under trees could be a smart move:

  • Hailstorms. If a hailstorm is forecasted and your only option is between open space and a tree, then go for the tree by all means. It can offer some protection against those icy projectiles, potentially saving your car from costly damage. However, be cautious about the tree’s health and stability.
  • Extreme Heat. On scorching hot days, leaving your car baking in the sun could lead to internal damage. If the choice is between the blistering sun and a shady tree (that isn’t a sap-dropping offender), you might consider opting for the latter. Just be sure to give your car a good wash later in the day to get rid of any sap or leaf residue.
  • Temporary Shade. If you’re a rideshare driver, cabbie, or simply waiting for someone, parking under a tree can offer some respite from the sun. This temporary arrangement shouldn’t cause too much harm, but again, inspect your vehicle afterward for any sticky surprises.

The key takeaway here is this: there are times when parking under a tree is the lesser of two evils. Just remember to keep an eye on your vehicle and ensure any tree-related remnants are promptly dealt with.

Related: How To Protect Your Car From Hail Damage

Frequently Asked Questions

Better to park under a tree or in the sun?

Typically, parking in the sun is safer for your car’s exterior. However, in extreme heat, you might consider parking under a tree but be sure to wash your car promptly afterward.

How do I protect my car from parking under a tree?

Consider investing in a high-quality car cover to shield your vehicle when parking under trees. Regularly applying paint protectants like waxes, sealants, and ceramic coatings can also help guard against damage.

Is it safe to park under a tree during a storm?

It depends on the type of storm. For rain and lightning, avoid trees. But for an incoming hail storm, a tree might offer some protection.

Why is my car sticky after parking under a tree?

The stickiness is likely due to tree sap, pollen, and other contaminants that have fallen from the tree onto your car.

Final Thoughts

As you can see above, I generally don’t recommend parking under trees. Sometimes you won’t have a choice, especially if you live in a condo with large parking covered with trees (that’s in my case).

But try to avoid it as much as possible, except in a few situations that I’ve mentioned above.

Lastly, by always protecting your car’s paint, you’ll reduce the potential harm trees can do to your car, so remember that.