Mechanic Showing Color Samples To Customer Against Car

Surprising Things That Can Damage Your Car’s Paint

Your car’s sparkling finish made it through the salt, sand and harsh temperatures of winter. But your car’s paint faces year-round hazards. According to Autoblog, a car with faded paint and a dingy look sells for 10-20 percent less than an otherwise identical vehicle that just looks nicer.

Start with a good coat of wax, then be on the lookout for these common problems:

Parking Under A Tree

Trees may provide shade, but they also produce sap and can drop twigs or branches on your car on a windy day. Your best defense is to make sure the paint is waxed. If you find tree sap on your paint, get some bug and tar remover from your auto parts store to dissolve it. Then, rinse and wax the area again to remove any residue.

Bird Droppings

Without going into the science of bird droppings and their reactions with paint, you can just trust us that it can wreak havoc. When a bird mistakes your vehicle for a giant portable toilet, the best thing you can do is remove it quickly. A wet cloth will usually do the trick, but be careful to wipe with a lifting motion so that you don’t grind it into the paint.

Gasoline Drips

You know the gas station rules: No smoking at the pump and don’t touch anything in the restroom (although that’s more of an unwritten rule.) But spilled gasoline isn’t just a safety hazard, it can cause long-term harm to your paint.

To prevent stains and rust, avoid topping off your tank, and clean up any accidental drips immediately.

Writing In The Dirt

Using your finger as a writing utensil to draw “Wash Me Plz” in dirt isn’t as harmless as you think. Dirt can act as sandpaper when dragged across your vehicle’s paint, leaving the writer’s message behind permanently.

To avoid this, get your car washed frequently to eliminate abrasive dirt from your car’s surface. Light scratches can sometimes be removed with polish or scratch remover after the car is clean.

High Speed Bug Collisions

Bugs hitting your windshield on the highway are gross, but relatively harmless. The real problem is the bug that makes your paint its final resting place. They are extremely acidic, and not easy to remove. Have your car washed regularly. For the most stubborn guts, use bug and tar remover as soon as possible.

Washing Your Car With A Dirty Sponge

We’ve suggested washing your car frequently, but be sure to do so carefully. Using dirty sponges or towels can do more harm than good.

Some older automatic car washes still use abrasive brushes rather than a soft cloth, which can scratch the paint. Another safe bet is a “touchless” car wash that uses high pressure water jets to clean your car.

You love your car, and you want to protect more than just its paint job. Get car insurance at a competitive rate in just a few minutes.

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    Leave a comment

  1. Rene says,

    How do you protect against rust on the undercarriage of the car? The salt, the snow…it can cause a real rust problem.

    • Jason says,

      Use a car wash that has an undercarriage wash cycle. You can also have the undercarriage sprayed with a protectant.

    • G. Johnson says,

      Have vehicle undercoated. This is beneficial in the North due to salt on roads and costal areas due to salt water. It can also prove beneficial in cutting down road noise experienced in vehicles.

  2. John says,

    Over the years I have owned numerous vehicles. Since the purchase of my first vehicle in 1979.
    When applying wax to the vehicle ,I would also apply a coat of car wax to the windshield and windows on the vehicle.
    And Every vehicle it has helped shed water and allow easier bug cleanings.
    Also I have not had to use wipers as much. It really works.

  3. R Brown says,

    Personally I think the touch less car washes a waste of $$. They always leave a film of crud. I usually go for the wash that has the big “shammy” brushes. I stay away from the plastic ‘whirl wind brushes’ as they’re are always needing maintenance and leaving streaks. It’s like they always need new ‘hair plugs’. The best thing is the drive through/wand foam brush/ rinse pull out soft dry. If you’re really feeling industrious, pull up and vacuum. 8.00. Just saying.

  4. J Morrison says,

    PS. Keep your car out of the sun. Clean out that garage and put your car back in it’s rightful place.

  5. RICH says,

    You have adjusters in our area with Mr Musick and Mr matusak that have made us a supporter of the geico story and the excellent service that geico provides. Being a independent insurance agent for many years I could not support a 800 number company.However the service provided by geico and it’s claim/service staff has made me a great voice in support of the geico story .A story I am NOW COMFORTABLE IN TELLING

  6. Charles Hall says,

    Ford tells me I should never wax my 2011 Fusion as it harms the clear coat finish. I have a friend with an eleven-year-old Town Car who was told the same thing. He’s taken that advice, and his car still looks like it just came off the showroom floor.

    • MarkFP says,

      Charles, as a professional vehicle refinisher, the short answer is “yes and no”. The high solid clear used on your vehicle does not require a polish or wax to retain the finish and shine. On the other hand, the new type of waxes and polish developed for clear coats will enhance the shine and make washing easier. My opinion is either way the key is the wash and keeping it clean.

    • Robert says,

      Your friend got very lucky. I want to ensure that everybody understands I am not pointing out Ford in general, but salesman at car dealerships will say just about anything to make the customer think that they have an intellectual edge on the auto industry. That is terrible advice. A good wax on a clean vehicle is not going to damage the paint. You have to remember that the same dealership that sold you that vehicle makes money everyday in their service departments selling, not only vehicle maintenance, but paint and restoration as well. If you want the best advice for your vehicle’s finish, consult a reputable body shop in your area.

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