How to Protect Your Car Paint

Your car is a big investment, and understanding what can damage your car paint is one way to ensure that it looks good as long as it can. You may not decide to drive it to 200,000 miles, but if you do, it will look good. What’s more likely is that you’ll decide to trade it, and a well-preserved exterior will help you get top dollar.

What Causes Paint Damage on Cars?

Wear and tear is part of life, but what exactly causes paint damage on a vehicle? There are several reasons why this happens, and many are preventable.

  • Scratches

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Scratches come from many sources, and they wear away the paint’s luster. You want to avoid driving too close to bushes. It’s important to keep cats, squirrels and other critters from climbing on your car. You shouldn’t set down a basket on the hood while you are looking for your keys. It’s the little things that add up, not just the big scratches from actual run-ins with walls, trees or other cars.

For that matter, don’t use rough sponges to scrub your car. If something has dried on the surface, let the detergent sit for a few minutes before trying to clean it. You are less likely to scrape or scratch.

  • Bird Droppings

Bird droppings are nearly impossible to avoid. When a bird leaves a dropping on a car, it can harden, and that’s when it can start eating away at the paint on the vehicle. Washing them off as quickly as possible can help prevent any damage to the paint job. To remove the bird dropping, use a gentle detergent and a wet towel. If you drive by a dealership, you are likely to see someone walking from new car to new car doing this very thing. This isn’t just a matter of cleanliness; it’s also a serious effort to protect the paint job.

  • Bugs

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Bug spatter on the windshield and grille is typical no matter where your customers drive. Similar to bird droppings, insects are highly acidic. The high acidity levels in bugs can start wearing down a car’s paint.

It’s best to remove the bugs sooner rather than later. To do so, spray a cleaning solution onto the bugs and let the solution rest for 30 seconds before wiping it down gently with a clean cloth.

  • Gasoline

When gas spills while you are filling up, you may only be worried about what’s gotten on your hands. Keep thinking. While the gas will seem to disappear, the invisible chemical components of gasoline can still eat away at paint. When this happens, you can run the car through a car wash or quickly wipe it down with soap and water to prevent any damage or staining.

  • Salt

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In many parts of the country, people use salt to help prevent ice from forming on the roadways. Salt is an effective way to keep drivers safer on the road during the winter months, but the salt is very bad for a car’s paint.Driving on salted roads can cause a vehicle to rust or simply speed up the natural corrosion process of metal.

  • Silly String

We’ve all played with silly string before. While silly string may seem harmless, it can actually damage a car’s paint. The color and other components of silly string can stain a vehicle. There are other substances like this that children play with. If you want your paint to last, make sure this type of plaything doesn’t come in contact with your car.

  • Tree Sap

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Tree sap might not seem like it can cause damage to a car because it’s natural, but that’s not true. When tree sap lands on a car and stays there for long periods, it can erode the paint.

It’s best to remove the tree sap before it reaches a tar-like consistency. You can do this with a cleaning solution and a clean towel. If the tree sap has hardened more like tar, using a box cutter (very gently) can help too.

  • Coffee and Soda

Coffee and soda are everyday things that can damage a car’s paint. Coffee or soda can easily be left on the roof or bumper, going along for an often short ride until they spill all over the vehicle. These substances contain acids that aren’t good for your finish. This is another reason for a spot wash or a full car wash.

Does Paint Damage Decrease the Value of Your Car?

Excessive paint damage definitely decreases the value of a car. When selling to a dealership, you need every advantage you can get. If you were to sell it to an individual, the paint damage might not be as big an issue.

Is it Worth Getting a Paint Job?

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If your older or otherwise damaged vehicle has paint damage, you’ll want to be honest with yourself that a paint job won’t be worth it. A car that is going to fetch a bargain price when it is sold is expected to be less than perfect. So, it may be best to work with what you have and make sure the rest of the exterior and interior are as good as they can be. There may be ways to improve the look without spending big bucks.

But for newer vehicles, typically those with between 50K and 100K miles, a paint job could be the improvement it needs to fetch a fair price. This is when the asking price of the car comes into play. Let’s say it takes $1,000 to paint the car, but without the paint job, the dealership is taking $5,000 off the trade-in amount. That would imply that a good paint job is worth it. Click here to know more.

Another consideration is reputation. If you use your car for work, a paint job might be necessary.

Now that you know more, you can protect your car’s good looks and its resale value.

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