10 Things That Can Damage Your Car Paint and How to Protect It

Trust Mizzoni's Auto Body for Professional Car Repair and Protection

Your car’s paint job not only enhances its appearance but also acts as a protective shield against the elements. Paint scratches are part of car ownership, but it’s up to the vehicle owner to stay responsible with their vehicle to ensure the car’s surface stays in excellent shape. Several everyday factors can silently harm your car’s paint, some of which are natural elements.

The good news is, maintaining your car’s appearance is not hard to do, and can even be a rewarding experience. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the 10 things that can damage your car paint and, more importantly, what you can do to prevent it and keep your paint looking flawless.

Types of Car Paint Damage

1. Tree Sap

Tree sap is a menace. It’s sticky and acidic, making it a double threat to your car’s paint. To avoid it, park away from trees or invest in a car cover. If tree sap does land on your car, gently remove it using warm soapy water and a microfiber cloth.

2. Paint Correction

Improper paint correction methods can result in swirl marks and scratches. For example, using dirty pads can scratch paint. Using a polishing tool without enough polish or pressing too deep can burn through clear coat. Ensure that paint correction is carried out by professionals using the right tools and techniques to restore your paint’s shine. Regular professional detailing can keep your paint looking its best.

3. Bird Droppings

Bird droppings are not only unsightly but also potentially damaging. They contain uric acid, which can etch into your car’s clear coat. Swiftly remove bird droppings using a gentle car-safe cleaner and a microfiber cloth to prevent lasting damage. The longer it stays, the more damage it causes.

4. UV Rays

The sun’s UV rays are a relentless enemy to your car’s paint. Prolonged exposure can lead to fading and oxidation. To protect your car, park in the shade whenever possible, use a car cover, or regularly apply a high-quality UV-resistant wax or paint sealant. Try to park in the shade whenever possible to help protect your paint.

5. Paint Chips

Paint chips often occur when small stones, gravel, or road debris strike your car’s paint while driving. These chips can expose the underlying metal to the elements, potentially leading to rust. It’s a good idea to avoid following too closely to help prevent rock chips from getting kicked up. While small stones are unlikely to damage paint, a weakened paint surface from repetitive abuse will start to show chips over time.

6. Accidental Paint Damage

Sometimes, accidents happen, and your car’s paint can suffer. Most importantly, be sure to clean the surface as quickly as possible if there’s a spill. Here are some common scenarios that can lead to accidental paint damage and how to address them:

Deep Scratches:

Deep scratches can penetrate the paint and reach the metal beneath. They not only look unsightly but also provide a pathway for rust to develop. One way to know is to run your hand over it gently and feel for a smooth surface. If your nail stops or catches at the scratch, then it’s probably going to need attention. Depending on the depth, it may require professional repair to ensure the underlying metal is protected. Oftentimes, a simple touch-up pen may suffice for a quick fix.

Brake Fluid Spills:

Brake fluid is highly corrosive and can damage your car’s paint if spilled. If a spill occurs, rinse the affected area immediately with plenty of water and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.

Gasoline Spills:

Gasoline is another corrosive substance that can harm your car’s paint. If a spill happens, avoid any sources of ignition, quickly blot the spill with a clean microfiber cloth, and rinse the area thoroughly.

Other Corrosive Fluids and Compounds:

Various other fluids, such as engine oil, antifreeze, and caked on brake dust can cause paint damage if not addressed promptly. In case of a spill, rinse the area thoroughly with water and consult professionals for any necessary paint repairs.

7. Road Salt and De-Icing Chemicals

In areas with cold winters, road salt, and de-icing chemicals can corrode your car’s paint. To safeguard your vehicle, thoroughly rinse your car after winter storms and consider an undercarriage wash to remove salt buildup. Regularly apply a protective wax coating to provide a barrier against these harsh substances.

8. Bugs and Tar

Insects and tar can stubbornly cling to your car’s paint, leaving behind unsightly marks. Use a dedicated bug and tar remover to clean them off, and remember to reapply wax afterward to provide an extra layer of protection. Some insect body fluids can corrode paint if left on too long, much like bird droppings.

9. Automatic Car Washes

While automatic car washes are convenient, some can be harsh on your car’s paint. Brush-style car washes, in particular, can leave fine scratches. Choose touchless or brushless car washes that use high-pressure water and detergents, which are gentler on your paint.

10. Old Age and Clear Coat Failure

As your car ages, its paint may naturally lose some of its luster. The clear coat, a protective layer over the base paint, can deteriorate over time due to exposure to UV rays, weather conditions, and general wear and tear. Clear coat failure results in a hazy or cloudy appearance, making your car’s paint look dull and patchy. If you see the color fading in common areas like your hood, roof, or trunk, you may be experiencing clear coat failure.

How to Protect Your Car's Paint

Protecting your car’s paint doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are some tips to keep it looking its best:
  • Regular Cleaning:

    Wash your car regularly to remove dirt, dust, and contaminants. Use a dedicated car shampoo and a microfiber wash mitt to avoid scratches.

  • Professional Detailing:

    Consider professional detailing services to maintain your car’s shine and protection.

  • Waxing and Sealing:

    Apply a high-quality car wax or paint sealant every few months to provide a protective barrier against the elements.

  • Paint Protection Film:

    Consider applying a paint protection film (clear bra) to vulnerable areas like the front bumper and hood for added protection against chips and scratches.

  • Ceramic Coating:

    Ceramic coating provides a durable, hydrophobic layer that repels water, dirt, and contaminants. It offers long-lasting protection and a glossy finish.

  • Safe Parking:

    Park your car away from trees, and if possible, in a garage or shaded area to protect it from UV rays and the elements.

  • Use Car Covers:

    Consider using a car cover to shield your car when it’s not in use, especially if you’re in an area with severe weather conditions.

  • Regular Maintenance:

    Address any paint damage, chips, or scratches promptly to prevent rust from developing.

We Are Here to Help Take Care of Your Vehicle's Paint

Remember that the team at Mizzoni’s Auto Body is here to help you with any car paint damage or repairs. We’re dedicated to ensuring your car looks its best and stays protected against all odds. Don’t let these potential paint hazards spoil the beauty of your car; take action to protect and maintain your vehicle’s paint for years of enjoyment.

Mizzoni's Auto Body Location

178 US 46 East, Lodi, NJ 07644   |   info@mizzonisautobody.com   |   Hours: Monday – Friday 8am-5pm and Saturday 8am – 12pm
P: 973.777.7115   |   F: 973.777.6929