How to Protect Car Paint from the Hazards of Nature
A car can have a gorgeous frame filled in with great lines and designs, but it won’t catch the eye if it’s suffering from a bad paint job. It’s all about the colour, the shine. In fact, your subconscious may have led you to finalize your car choice based on it’s gloss, and if you’ve sold a car, your buyer’s subconscious mind may have done the same for them. So learning how to protect car paint is a big deal. However, nature has its own agenda against cars, worldwide – damaging their paint coatings by means of various elements. If you don’t stay on top of things, you may soon find problems with the coating on your own vehicle.
Nature & Her Arsenal
“What elements?”, some of you may ask, are so bad for your car? You may think that your ride has been through it all – rain, sleet, snow, slush and ice. And you might even laugh in the face of such things since they’re just one carwash away from not being a problem. Yet still, there are other elements, which we often take for granted, that can wreak havoc on your car’s paint. The irony is that most of them seem harmless.
Bugs on the windshield might gross you out, yet they’re easy to remove. Just wipe and wash with your wipers. However, their remains can still linger with damaging effect. The body parts of insects on your windshield are acidic, and if you’re frequently driving through swarms of annoying little flies, your car’s paint will have a higher risk of slowly corroding. The keyword here is slowly. For this very reason, drivers dismiss bug parts as a minor nuisance, when they’re more like landmines, waiting to cause serious damage to your car’s paint. So what’s the takeaway here? Spray those bugs away, yes, but make sure to wash your car more thoroughly as well with soap and water, and a bug and tar removing solution if possible.
It would seem that birds, especially seagulls, have perfected the art of using cars as toilets – maybe their favourite choice apart from sidewalks and sometimes, people. It’s disgusting, annoying and occasionally embarrassing to clean off their droppings, but the bigger problem is what they do to car paint. Yep, bird poop is dirty and damaging. Like bug remains on your windshield, their droppings are loaded with acid, which slowly wears away at our car’s paint coating. Until we starve them by dumping our food wrappers in the trash, we’ll just have to fight back when they make a number two. Your weapon? Wipe droppings off as soon as you see them, using car soap and a cloth. Doing so sooner than later will prevent bird feces from ruining your paint job in the future.
Trees themselves aren’t a danger, unless they topple over and crush your car altogether. However, their sap, which may seem like no issue at all, can damage your car’s paint. The problem isn’t so much the sap itself. It’s not acidic like the bugs and bird droppings mentioned above, but the fact that it’s so sticky is the problem (Native Indians used sap as glue). When tree sap hardens, removing it get’s tricky, and the likelihood of scratching your paint is high. That’s why it’s wise to remove tree sap sooner than later with a bug and tar remover. Besides, it’s no fun to see your car discoloured by some sap in the first place.
No one’s car is always dirt free, despite frequent car washes. However, you probably know a person or people who have cars that are constantly coated with dirt. Some keep it for a coolness factor, perhaps to look like they’re the “outdoors” type. But they’re only ruining their car’s paint. Dirt doesn’t just look messy, it makes a mess of the paint coating by acting like sandpaper. Imagine dragging sandpaper along a painted surface. Just think of the damage it would cause as the paint chips off. This is what happens when you leave dirt coatings on your vehicle. Wind, swipes of the hand or fingers, and other similar motions can drag dirt across your car, so your best offense is regular washing with soap and water.
What’s there not to appreciate about the sun, especially after a long bout of winter? The warmth, the light, the energy – it’s life-sustaining. However, the sun doesn’t only harm unprotected skin, they can damage your car’s paint job as well. How so? The UV radiation streaming from that hot ball of gas causes car paint to fade over time, usually resulting in spots that look discoloured. Removing sun damage from a vehicle can be challenging, and you would have to use industrial-grade compounds to erase the spots. That’s why defense is the name of the game when figuring out how to protect car paint from sun damage. The fix here isn’t to slather on handfuls of coppertone, but rather, to regularly wash your vehicle (since dirt can amplify the effects of UV radiation), and park it in shaded areas from time-to-time.
Reminders to Pin on Your Wall
The reality is you can’t escape all (if any) of the above-mentioned elements. Birds will be birds, bugs will fly, and if science is accurate, the sun will rise for at least a few billion years more. However, you can still keep your vehicle in good shape despite nature’s onslaught. The key is to recognize these elements, remember their effects, and regularly work towards preventing the damage they can cause. Basic car maintenance combined with a few auto detailing techniques make it possible for you to keep those paint job ruining effects at bay.
7 Tips How to Protect Car Paint from the Elements
- Hand wash w/soap and water (car wash occasionally)
- Dry properly and immediately after washing
- Polish your paint
- Protect paint with wax
- Immediately wipe off stains, droppings and liquids!
- Take your car in for detailing (once every three months)
- Park in shaded or covered areas where possible (ie. garage)
Nurture Your Car to Keep it Safe from Nature
As the summer season approaches, you’ll likely spend more time on the roads. All the activities and get-togethers will mean longer drives and more time spent outside the garage. That means a car is more exposed to nature. Following the basic car maintenance tips listed above will prevent these elements from damaging that beautiful paint job of yours. Even as the years go by, your ride will look as glossy as it did when you first bought it.