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5 Everyday Things that Damage Your Car’s Paint

When your car first rolled off the assembly line its paint job was immaculate, with a glossy finish comprised of several layers of primer and paint. If you’ve been in an accident recently that required collision repairs, when you picked it up from the body shop your vehicle’s paint also looked like new. But unfortunately there are a number of things that cars are exposed to on a daily basis that dull, fade and otherwise damage your once-pristine paint job. Some are obvious, but others might surprise you and oftentimes strike unexpectedly. With that in mind, here are 5 everyday things that can damage your car’s paint, along with advice from auto body shop pros on how best to protect your vehicle’s prized finish.

Splattered Bugs

Splattered flying bugs and car fronts just seem to go together, especially during the summer. Those dead bugs might appear harmless, but they actually can do serious damage to your vehicle’s paint due to their bodies’ acidity. Not removed immediately, bug body imprints can actually become etched permanently into the top layers. Experts advise washing them off right away using a bug and tar remover, soft wash cloth and old-fashioned elbow grease.

Bird Droppings

Most of us like watching our feathered friends, but how many of us have had bird droppings bombard our cars? In addition to being unsightly, bird droppings contain traces of acidic berries and seeds, along with grainy textures that can stain, dull and scratch your paint. Professional auto detailers recommend promptly using a soft microfiber cloth wet with spray wash to gently wipe away the droppings while employing a lifting motion to prevent grit-induced scratching.

Coffee and Soda

Have you ever placed a cup of coffee or soda on your car’s roof while in a hurry, and then watched in horror as it tipped over spilling the contents onto your paint’s surface? Both beverages contain acid that can damage your car’s finish, and colorings that stain when dried. Those in the know say wipe the spilled liquid off immediately and completely with a soft cloth and then wash the area with soapy water right after.


The sun’s UV rays cause our skin to age prematurely, and have the same effect on vehicle paint finishes. Dulling and fading can occur if your car spends many hours a day exposed to direct sunlight. Auto body paint professionals advise that you keep your car garaged, parked in a shady area, or that you use a car cover when possible to prevent sunlight-related damage.

Tree Sap

Have you ever parked your car under a tree only to later notice annoying tree sap splotches on its roof, hood or trunk? Tree sap contains chemicals that can interact with your car’s painted surface making it not only difficult to clean off, but it also can damage the paint permanently. Experts say that the best way to remove tree sap is to immediately wipe it off using a soft cloth wetted with an indicated polish or rubbing compound. Then wash the area several times with soap and water until all traces of the sap are gone.

If Your Car’s Paint Gets Damaged Help is Nearby

Your car’s paint is also vulnerable to other everyday things like rocks, eggs, tar, air pollution, gasoline and human skin. To safeguard your car’s finish from dulling or fading you should wash it frequently and also wax it at least annually with a high-quality, carnauba-based paste. Auto body shop professionals know about paint-damaging factors and how to prevent them from ruining your vehicle’s finish. Most collision repair shops also offer expert painting and detailing services that help your car’s finish look like new all year long. When you need some reliable paint care tips or auto body painting done, contact a reputable collision repair shop nearby.

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