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.

Get GEICO Auto insurance.

    Leave a comment


    Thank you, for these articles. Most of us seniors are doing our best to budget our retirement resources. My present car may be the last one that I will own. I may be able to drive another 10 to 15 years, but it would be a waste to spend money on a new car. I still take pride in keeping my car in a good looking and operating condition.

  2. David Stigall says,

    How do I my when I need new tires with out having to relied on a service tech?this would be a great topic. Thanks

  3. Gary Hughes says,

    I noticed that after I had read an article that I had clicked on, other articles that were on the original email had been replaced by new ones. I had scrolled down through them all intending to read more than one, but finding the others gone after reading the first. It would have been nice to find the others still there.

  4. Jerry L Adams says,

    Washing is good for your paint but don’t forget to wax your car at least about twice a year !! Most people don’t realize a little wax will help keep your paint from fading and peeling !!

  5. Leticia. Elias says,

    Helpful article thank keep sending tips about it ! I want to find a extended warranty in my car I belive it will expire soon !

  6. Lupe Diaz says,

    Thank You
    If you do have some paint that came off ..whats the best way to fix it? I bought a very small bottle at dealership…was expensive. After touch up, It came off and nowlooks worse. car is black and now a small white streak.

  7. Clyde M. Donald says,

    There is a difference between a “Check Engine” light and a “Maintenance” light. Looks like you’re confusing the two in your article.

  8. Marguerite Bridges says,

    Hi Geico: Thank you! These tips were very helpful. I need to take care of my paint on my car. I work in an area where parking is tough. My poor little car has battle scars from other cars backing into me and scraping my car, or scraps from shopping mall carts! I will need to do a little body work on “Rosie” my car.

    Yes, she has a name.
    Marguerite Bridges

  9. Natalie Greenberg says,

    Good information. The weather, however, is so bad in Texas that every time I get my car washed the next day we get high winds and torrential rainstorms. I seem to go through every mud puddle and my car is filthy again. Whatever, I’ll live with it because I love my new car clean or dirty. I now live in a apartment complex and no longer own a home. It was so much easier to keep my car clean when I had a house and could hose it down before putting it in the garage. Keep sending me these helpful messages. I can pass them along to my kids.

    • Paul Myers says,

      In Texas we have a lot of bugs in the spring that covers the front end of my truck, answer to that was to use easy off spray from the kitchen, be sure not to spray the windshield as it will be impossible to see out.

  10. Tee Allen says,

    Reference to bugs final resting place on your vehicle’ especially the front bumper during traveling . I recommend spraying your front bumper with Johnson’s furniture polish and rub it on lightly. It prevent the bugs from sticking or damaging your paint. Also make it easy to wash spray them off. Furniture polish will not damage your paint Very effortless.

Looking to save? Bundle your auto & property. Start Quote Get A Free Auto + Property Quote