Most of the common causes of car paint damage are sadly unavoidable.  Not only are scratches and dents unpleasant to look at, but they can also significantly lower the re-sale of the vehicle. The longer damages go unrepaired, the higher the risk is for rust to develop which can become a larger headache later. There are several ways that your car can get damaged, but with precautions, you may be able to avoid some of the common causes of damage to the paint. Here are some of the most common causes of car paint damage and how you can prevent them.

Temperature Fluctuations

When your car is constantly exposed to temperature fluctuations, the paint will expand and contract with the changes in temperature. Over time, this will result in small cracks and openings that will allow the infiltration of moisture, salt, and other chemicals that will cause rust and rapid deterioration of the paint.  Regardless of the season, your vehicle is at risk of getting paint damage. During the winter, the snow and salt can cause a lot of significant and hidden damage, and during the summer, the sun’s UV rays can lead to fading.

So, how can you protect the paint all year round? The easiest solution is to park in the garage if you have one, but since this is not always possible, it is wise to have alternative options. For instance, consider using a cover to protect against the snow and UV rays. Parking in a shady area will also help to protect the paint from UV rays.  Also, a common and great return on investment is to have your vehicle routinely waxed by your local and professional car wash. Wax is your vehicle’s first line of defense to preserve its paint.

Shoe Polish and Shaving Cream

These two items are sometimes used to write messages or etch decorative drawings on the windows of a car, for example after a wedding. However, if either of the two gets on to the car paint, it will be very difficult to remove and will most probably leave permanent marks because these products cause damages to the vehicle’s wax. The best recommendation to avoid damages from these products is to remove them immediately after the event.


You must avoid leaving your car in the vicinity of a construction area. In addition to the high concentration of dust, there is also the danger of wet concrete landing on the car. If this happens and the concrete sets in place, it will leave prominent marks when it is scraped out.  If the concrete splatters on the textured black plastic parts of your vehicle, these parts will have to be replaced.  Unfortunately, they cannot be repaired and refinished.

Bugs, Bird Droppings and Eggs

Splattered bugs, bird eggs and animal droppings can be quite damaging to car paint. They naturally contain chemicals that erode paint and expose the underlying layers. Therefore, it is important to remove these messes as soon as they occur.  There is no way to prevent bugs from landing on your car, but when dead bugs are left in place, it can be challenging to remove them. The easiest way to avoid damage from dead insects is to wash your vehicle at least once a week, and if you notice dead bugs on the paint, remove them as quickly as possible. Bird droppings are incredibly frustrating for all vehicle owners, but it is important to note that the droppings can also be corrosive to the paint because it is acidic.  The acidic piles of mess can eventually eat away both your vehicles wax, clear coat, and ultimately the coat base color. When washing your vehicle, do not scrape the droppings, use a clean and soft microfiber wash cloth with soapy water to remove it.

Gasoline, Diesel and Brake Fluid

These liquids from other parts of the car must be kept away from the car paint. If gasoline, diesel, or brake fluid meets painted surfaces, it can cause the paint to peel.  Whether you use regular gasoline or diesel, if it drips onto the paint, it can cause the paint to peel. If the fuel leaks while fueling up, be sure to wipe it off immediately and take the vehicle to the car wash as soon as possible afterward to ensure all the fuel is removed. It is also important to use caution when refilling fluids, such as brake fluid, which can eat away at the paint. If you wash your vehicle daily, this will help avoid these contaminants from causing issues with your car’s refinish.

Sharp Objects

Sharp objects such as keys, razor blades, scissors, and knives will cause damage to car paint. These objects are often used by vandals on cars that are left unsupervised for long periods of time.  Try to park immobile vehicles in a highly visible and well illuminated area.

Stones and Rocks

Cars that are driven on highways are often subject to damage from small stones and rocks. This is also true of unfinished roads. These small objects chip the surface of the paint and leave openings that contribute to paint degeneration and rust.  It is also best to avoid driving behind dump trucks and other vehicles that may be hauling loose stones, soil, sand, or other types of harsh debris.

Generic and Abrasive Cleaners

When you wash your car, it is important to avoid generic cleaners such as detergent and soap. Always stick to high-quality car cleaning products. Never use rough cleaning products or abrasive materials to clean the car.  These products can not only destroy your vehicles paint but also remove the refinish on your wheels and accents parts around your car.

Water Spots

Water spots in scorching hot summers can leave permanent markings on the vehicles wax and clear coat. After cleaning the car, it is important to wipe it down thoroughly and remove all the moisture. This will remove water spots and protect the car paint from accumulated moisture.

Dirty Cleaning Cloths

Never rub a dirty cloth on your car. The dirt particles can scratch both your wax and paint and leave marks. Also avoid rubbing dirt with a dry cloth because it will cause friction and damage.

Although you may not always be able to prevent damages to the paint on your vehicle, it is helpful to wash it routinely. Regular washing will help prevent fluids, environmental pollution, and road grime from building up on the paint, which can ultimately cause permanent damage. If you notice damages, such as scratches and dents, it is best to take the vehicle to a professional auto body shop for repairs as soon as possible. Lastly, always use a clean, soft cloth and quality cleaners when washing your car.

For experienced auto body repair and hail damage repair, contact Vivid Auto Body.