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7 Factors that Damage Car Paintwork and How You Can Prevent Them

ByDave Stopher

Sep 9, 2021

The car sales industry has seen its share of ups and downs. Just last August, Ford reported a 33.1% decline in sales because of a semiconductor chip shortage. But while auto manufacturers work on the global shortage that has been disrupting production, car owners can focus on protecting their vehicles.

As a car owner, one of your greatest challenges is preserving the vehicle’s paintwork. You want to protect it from blemishes, scratches, and other minor damages. You also want to keep it cleaner for longer so that you don’t have to be scheduling more car washes than you have to.

There’s more to protecting your paintwork than having a ceramic coating, though. While this type of ceramic coating is today’s strongest paint protection technology, you also have to play your part in preventing damage. Be aware of the factors that affect your paintwork and do your best to avoid them.


From mischievous kids writing “clean me” on a dirty car to the random marks your hands leave on your car while you fix the groceries in the back, there’s no escaping fingerprints on your car surface.

Fingerprints on your car surface aren’t just an eyesore, though. They could grunt microscopic dirt into the car paint and cause minor abrasion. Always use car polish to remove these marks.

Dead Bugs

Bugs like sticking to windshields. Every car owner knows this. Every car owner also knows that dead bugs could be difficult to remove from the car surface. If not addressed swiftly and properly, these bugs could damage your paintwork. A thorough clean-up using proper carwash materials will effectively remove them and keep your windshield clean.

Bird Droppings

Bird droppings give many car owners a headache. They’re unsightly, and they’re difficult to remove. They’re acidic, too, meaning they can cause permanent damage to your vehicle’s paintwork. You can remove bird droppings the same way you remove dead bugs. It might require a bit more effort, though, because these are more stubborn. Be careful not to scrub too hard and cause further scratches to the car.

Tree Sap

You can’t always park in a garage or under a shed. And if your vehicle is parked underneath a tree long enough, the tree sap could drip down and harden on the car surface. Use gentle cleaning materials to scrape off the sap and, if possible, avoid parking under trees or near bushes and shrubs.

Sun Exposure

If you live in a generally cloudy environment, you don’t have to worry about prolonged exposure to sunlight. But if you’reliving in a sunny town, or during long summers, constant sun exposure could cause your vehicle’s paintwork to lightly fade. Avoid this with car covers and by parking in shaded places.

Water Spots

If you park your car near an automated sprinkler, or if your location is typically rainy, it might be tough to avoid water spots on your car’s surface. Prevent these spots and marks from damaging your paintwork by wiping them away with a scratch-free microfiber cloth. And if possible, avoid parking in places that leave your car covered in rain or water spots.

Additional Tips on Preserving Paintwork

Preserving your vehicle’s paintwork is all about awareness and carefulness. So in addition to the aforementioned ways to protect your paintwork, incorporate these tips into your car care routine:

  • Keep your vehicle away from lawn sprinklers. And as much as possible, keep the car away from rainwater. These could leave stains on the paint surface.
  • Regular tap water has mineral content that causes water spots on the car surface. You can avoid these water spots by using distilled water when you wash your car.
  • If you can’t use distilled water to wash your car, or whenever it gets wet in rainwater, always dry it thoroughly right after. This prevents water beads from damaging the surface.
  • Always use high-quality wash and dry products for your vehicle. Use gentle cleaning products and scratch-free drying towels to prevent hairline scratches on the surface.
  • If your vehicle doesn’t have a ceramic coating yet, use high-quality car wax to protect the car surface from harsh UV rays as well as to remove mild scratches.

On a related note, keep in mind that stains, spots, and minor scratches are always a possibility. But constant vigilance, precautions, and the right ceramic coating will help you remove these marks easily.

If you encounter stubborn spots or scratches on the car surface, don’t attempt to remove them by yourself or to paint over them. Discuss the most suitable action with your local expert.